TURLOCK — After a scoreless first quarter Friday night, Hilmar’s Issac Sharp and Justin Rentfro combined to score three second-quarter touchdowns in 5 minutes, and another with 9 seconds left in the first half on the way to a 57-14 win over fourth-seeded Ripon Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI championship game at Joe Debely Stadium.
“Our offense finally got going in the second quarter,” Hilmar coach Frank Marques said. “He (Sharp) is special. The combination of him and Rentfro in the backfield is speed and strength — a one-two punch.”
Sharp’s speed and versatility proved to be too much to handle for the Knights (12-1). He finished with 129 yards on 13 carries with touchdown runs of 31 and 34 yards in the second quarter as well as a 31-yard scoring pass from Treven Crowley. Sharp added one more touchdown on an 80-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter.
Rentfro bulled his way in on a 9-yard scoring run for the other touchdown in the period.
“That was by far the most dynamic and physical one-two running back combination we have faced in Sharp and Rentfro,” Knights coach Trey Ozenbaugh said.
Before the Hilmar offense got on track, the Yellowjackets (11-2) put the ball on the turf three times in the first quarter but managed to recover it each time.
“We knew coming in we would need an emotional spark,” Ozenbaugh said. “We just couldn’t find that spark.”
Sean McGovern gave Ripon Christian that spark in the third quarter when after a ferocious hit by Declan Van Vuren knocked the ball loose from the Hilmar ball carrier. McGovern scooped it up and scampered 55 yards for a touchdown to make the score 34-7.
“My boy Declan (Van Vuren) came up and stripped the ball and I saw an opportunity to make the big play so I picked it up and I knew I was going to get there,” McGovern said.
Later in the period, McGovern (four receptions, 118 yards) took advantage of a size mismatch and pulled in a 20-yard scoring pass from Cade Alger to make the score 43-14.
“On that pass the O-line did a great job of blocking and coach knew I had a height advantage on that guy so I was given the chance to go up and make the play,” McGovern said.
Alger was 15 of 26 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“We had a good group of guys this year,” Alger said. “We bound together and loved each other. The coaches did a great job with their game plans every week and we just executed them.
“It could have gone a little better tonight as this was not the best football we have played.”
Alger’s two interceptions came long after the game had been decided, and the Yellowjackets were able to hang back and wait on the throws they knew were coming.
“Cade played a tremendous game last week in our win over Modesto Christian in some really bad conditions and he got us to this game,” Ozenbaugh said. “I am very proud of the way he led us this year. We have a lot to be thankful for.”
Michael Kamps picked up 70 yards on 12 carries and pulled in five catches for 52 yards for the Knights. Ian Vrieling made five catches for 57 yards.
Ripon Christian’s Dale Fisher tallied nine tackles, McGovern and Wyatt Van Vliet added six apiece and in addition to the forced fumble that led to McGovern’s scoop and score Van Vuren had a 13-yard sack.
Ripon Ch. 0 0 14 0 — 14
Hilmar 0 28 22 7 — 57
H — Issac Sharp 34 run (Bryan Millan kick), 9:31
H — Sharp 31 run (Millan kick), 7:50
H — Justin Rentfro 9 run (Millan kick), 4:21
H — Sharp 31 pass from Treven Crowley (Millan kick), :09
H — Matthew Souza 22 run (kick fail), 10:31
R — Sean McGovern 55 fumble recovery (Jacob Van Groningen kick), 8:22
H — Souza 40 run (kick fail), 8:01
H — Millan 24 field goal, 3:57
R — McGovern 20 pass from Cade Alger (Van Groningen kick), 2:10
H — Sharp 80 kickoff return (Milan kick), 1:54
H — Seth Miguel 10 run (Ellis Valenzuela kick), 2:00