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Gustin returns to burn Riverbank
Ripon must win next week for postseason berth
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RIPON – Alex Gustin wanted to test his ailing leg.

The Ripon High senior injured it a few games ago. On Friday, he returned to the backfield, but this time he was taking the handoff from Jake McCreath, his replacement at quarterback.

Against Riverbank, Gustin’s leg passed the test with flying colors.

He touched the ball four times, scoring each time in the 51-8 rout of the Bruins.
More importantly, Ripon kept its playoff hopes alive with the Trans Valley League win at Stouffer Field.

“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity,” Indians coach Chris Johnson said. “What more can you ask?”

 Ripon (3-2, 5-4) will travel to Newman next week to face Orestimba in the important TVL clash.

The Indians had woeful Riverbank (0-5, 0-9) pinned down early in the first quarter, and quickly took advantage on a botched fourth-down play.

Ripon’s second offensive play of the game resulted in Gustin’s 25-yard touchdown run. Andy Yciano added the extra-point kick.

The Indians again had good field position on their next possession. McCreath completed passes to Ryan Durrer and Cole Herrin, setting up Gustin’s 11-yard scoring run.

A poor punt by Riverbank was enough to set up a McCreath-to-Herrin touchdown pass, in turn, boosting Ripon’s lead, 19-0.

 The Bruins began to move the ball in second quarter, relying on the efforts of Angel Duarte and company.

But what little optimism for Riverbank was short lived, especially with Gustin taking the ball and racing 44 yards to pay dirt at the 3:09 mark.

Shortly before half time, Durrer made it a 31-0 Ripon advantage, scoring on a 48-yard punt return.

Gustin, who had 111 yards, capped his spectacular outing early in the second half, scoring on a 31-yard run.

“We wanted to give Alex some reps after he missed the last few games,” Johnson said. “He came in and didn’t miss a beat.”

The Indians final two scores came on Rodney Williams’ 2-yard run and Connor Jones recovering a fumble and going 39 yards for the touchdown.

Thomas Duarte’s 23-yard TD catch in the fourth accounted for Riverbank’s only points.

During the past three games, the Bruins have been outscored by their opponents, 142-14.

Ripon, meanwhile, has won its last three games, needing one more to secure a post season berth.