RIPON — Anything worth doing once is worth doing twice, and that includes returning fumbles for touchdowns.
Ripon Christian did it twice in two minutes in its Southern League contest with Mariposa.
Late in the first half Friday, Knights defensive back Sean McGovern grabbed a loose ball and raced 3yards for a touchdown. Then with less than 30 seconds left in the half, Dale Fisher gobbled up a fumble and scampered 26 yards for the third Knights touchdown in three minutes on the way to a 49-7 victory.
“Our linemen forced the ball out,” McGovern said. “I just saw it rolling and it came right to me, so I was able to get it and go into the end zone.”
Fisher helped get that second-quarter blitz going when he intercepted a pass with 4:31 left in the half. One minute later Michael Kamps (14 carries, 68 yards; five receptions, 90 yards) scored his second of three touchdowns on a 3-yard run for a 21-0 lead.
“First I want to thank the Lord for this win,” Fisher said. “He’s been with us all year. Second, I want to thank my linemen for causing that fumble. I just was able to pick it up.”
Kamps opened the night’s scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run and added an 11-yard scoring catch from Cade Alger (13 of 16 passing, 186 yards, three touchdowns) in the third quarter.
“We were moving the ball well,” Kamps said. “We had a good game plan and our offensive line was the cornerstone of it.”
Alger added touchdown throws of 45 yards to Ian Vrieling and 4 yards to Jacob Van Groningen.
As good of a game as the Knights (5-0 SL, 8-0) had, they stumbled out of the gate by fumbling on the game’s third play. The Grizzlies (1-4, 2-6) responded with a nine-play, 48-yard drive only to miss a field goal.
On the ensuing drive, Ripon Christian ground out 80 yards on 14 plays capped off by Kamps’ 18-yard scoring run. The Knights had two fourth-down conversions on that drive and one on their next possession.
Ripon Christian capped the game’s scoring on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Alger to Jacob Van Groningen in the fourth quarter.
“I think we had a lot of heart,” Alger said. “We have started a lot of games bad and teams have gone up on us in the first quarter but and we didn’t start this one good, but in good times or in bad having heart is what binds this team together.”
Mariposa did not score until late in the third quarter on a 17-yard pass from Jake Swift to Jonathan Chapman.
“Mariposa is better than what their record is,” Knights coach Trey Ozenbaugh said. “They are a tradition-rich program and they have had some challenges — their coach left at the beginning of the season and they have been bit by the injury bug.
“Our center, Eric Weststeyn, went down with a broken ankle tonight so we had to make some adjustment. Bill Kamps does an amazing job with our offensive line and he gets a lot out of those kids and we’re just going to continue."
The stingy Ripon Christian defense — Mariposa managed just 130 total yards — was led by Drew Van Vliet with eight tackles followed by Wyatt Van Vliet and Austin Ries with six stops each and Drake Nelson with five tackles and an interception.
Mariposa 0 0 7 0 — 7
Ripon Ch.7 28 7 7 — 49
R—Michael Kamps 18 run (Jacob Van Groningen kick), 2:11.
R—Ian Vrieling 45 pass from Cade Alger (Van Groningen kick), 7:19.
R—Kamps 2 run (Van Groningen kick), 3:30.
R—Sean McGovern 3 fumble return (Van Groningen kick), 2:17.
R—Dale Fisher 26 fumble return (Van Groningen kick), 0:27.
R— Kamps 11 pass from Alger (Van Groningen kick), 7:27.
M—Jonathan Chapman 17 pass from Jake Swift (Ramiro Marquez kick), 1:39.
R—Van Groningen 4 pass from Alger (Van Groningen kick), 8:26.