Ripon Christian was able to post four unanswered touchdowns in the second half, but spotting Foresthill High a 32-0 lead proved to be insurmountable in the Knights’ 32-26 Sac-Joaquin Section Semifinal loss to Foresthill Friday in Placer County.
The Knights (9-3) mounted a furious comeback in the second half, going down by five scores with nine minutes in the third quarter when Foresthill quarterback Wes Archbold hit Connor McCann for a 50-yard touchdown.
Ripon Christian went into halftime with a 24-0 deficit and was without the services of standout running back Andrew Brown (injured on his second carry and wouldn’t return). Still, it found a way to answer the call. The Knights would get a pair of touchdown passes from Danny Vos in the third quarter and his third touchdown pass early in the fourth rejuvenated the Ripon Christian faithful.
Foresthill lost all its momentum, and when the Knights recovered the ensuing onside attempt Ripon Christian was in business.
“It was a really nice play by Andrew Manes to recover that ball,” Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaff said of the onside recovery. “We were hoping that we could get the job done. We got a nice long run from Blankers and we just needed one more break. We needed to recover the onside kick again or get a quick stop on defense and we weren’t able to do that and that was it.”
Vos would find Blankers for a short gain and Blankers would do the rest, scampering 50 yards for the touchdown and pulling Ripon Christian to within a score. The Knights would come up empty on their next onside attempt, and Foresthill would grind out two first downs and continue on into the section championship.
“We were so close,” Vander Schaaf said. “That first half anything that could possibly go wrong for us did, from guys who don’t normally blow assignments and missing them, to Andrew going down and not being able to return. We went into the locker room at halftime and looked at each other and said all the bad stuff that could possibly happen did, let’s go out and make a game of it.
“And our kids really did that.”