The Ripon Knights’ varsity and JV squads both returned home with NFC Super Bowl titles Saturday. The varsity Knights edged the Hughson Huskies 41-40 for the program’s first championship at that level, while the JV made it four straight after beating Ravens Youth Football of the Patterson area, 24-22.
The junior varsity squad of the Ripon Chiefs was crowned Super Bowl champions last Sunday.
In the Trans-Valley Youth Football League’s AFC title game, the Chiefs edged the Central Saints in Mariposa, 14-13.
Coached by Curt Daggett, Ripon came prepared to play. Indicative of that was Matthew DeDonatis making a deep tackle on the opening kickoff.
Defense played a role throughout the game. Alex Padilla caused a fumble early on and Ryan Wilson recovered the loose ball.
That set up Logan Orando’s lateral pass to DeDonatis, who, in turn, made the deep throw to a wide-open Padilla for a 60-yard touchdown.
Padilla added the two-point conversion, giving the Chiefs an 8-0 first-quarter lead.
Ripon continued to get strong play from its special teams, with Zach Bailey making the deep tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
The Chiefs, applying defensive pressure, came up with another turnover. Padilla had the interception, but this time Ripon was unable to capitalize despite Orlando’s short passes to Aaron Paschini.
On punt coverage, Paschini came up with the deep tackle, giving Central poor field position.
The Saints, however, were able to string together a drive. They not only scored the TD but ran in the PAT to make it 8-7.
Ripon answered back as Orlando connected with Luis Candido on a 30-yard scoring strike.
Ahead 14-7, the Chiefs turned to their defense. Andrew Durrer and Dylan Sexton delivered big hits, causing another Central fumble.
Despite Orlando finding Durrer on a 15-yard pass play, Ripon again was unable to capitalize on the turnover.
The Saints struck back on a long touchdown run. They opted for the two-point try and the lead but seemingly came away empty.
But a penalty called against Ripon gave Central another shot at the two-point try.
The Chiefs again stopped the Saints on the PAT, thus, preserving the one-point lead.
Ripon held on by coming away with the onside kick.