RIPON — It is said you can never go home again.
Do not tell that to second-year Sierra football coach Chris Johnson. On Friday, he took the Timberwolves to the familiar Stouffer Field where he previously coached Ripon High’s football team for 12 seasons. The host Indians welcomed Sierra and Chavez of Stockton for a preseason scrimmage.
Sierra ran all over Chavez, but Ripon went toe-to-toe with the Timberwolves.
“I always feel a little awkward coming out here,” said Johnson, who is also a Ripon grad. “This was my home for so many years. I have a lot of friends here. I still live in the community and it is a great place to be.
“I think we saw some good things tonight and some things we have to work on. Our aggressiveness is good and we have to kind of tighten up on our discipline. We’re doing alright.”
Timberwolves senior Shane Johnson was pleased to get out on the field outside of a practice.
“We are just trying to get better every week,” the returning quarterback said. “We have been grinding all summer and we had a pretty good matchup with Ripon.
“It was great to get out here and hit someone else besides ourselves. It was an amazing feeling.”
The Indians have been hamstrung by low numbers this season.
“We have between 19 and 22 guys, depending,” Musseman said. “We know we have good, talented players but we don’t how good we really are because we can’t go 11 on 11 in practice. It was really nice to get out here against good competition and see our kids respond.”
Musseman downplayed the interaction with Johnson.
“This is nothing about me versus him,” Musseman said. “We have been good friends for a long time. I coached with him all 12 years he was here.
“I like going against him because I know we are going to get a good football team and that is going to make us better.”
Ripon senior QB Nico Ilardi liked the fact that the Indians were able to see what they could do.
“It was good to be out here tonight,” Ilardi said. “We have low numbers in practice so when we were out here with other teams it was good to see what we had.
“We had a good showing here. Sierra is a pretty good football team and I think we held our own against them.”
Next Friday at 7 p.m. to open the season Ripon hosts Weston Ranch and Sierra hosts Modesto Christian.