SALIDA — The Ripon Christian Knights came out Trans-Valley League-ready Friday against top-seeded Modesto Christian.
The Southern League champs received such a compliment by none other than Modesto Christian coach Mike Parsons after their 25-13 upset win in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinal clash at Roy Blakeley Field.
"This was a signature win for our program," said RC coach Trey Ozenbaugh, who recognized alumni players for paving the way for this moment.
The No. 4 Knights (12-0) will play another TVL team in Hilmar — the Yellowjackets defeated MC for the Division VI title last season — in next week's section title game. The No. 2-seed Yellowjackets got past No. 3 Escalon 28-18 in an all-TVL semifinal on the other side of the bracket.
The sloppy wet conditions made for some adventurous moments by both teams early on.
Ripon Christian missed an early opportunity when the Crusaders lost the handle of the slippery ball on that first possession,
The Knights, who started their first drive from the MC 2, failed to capitalize on four tries.
RC also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in the first quarter, only to be denied.
The second quarter was different story.
Quarterback Cade Alger threw touchdown passes of 32-, 30- and 19- yards to Ian Vrieling, Sean McGovern and Michael Kamps, respectively, in that span.
He was quick to praise his offensive coordinator Randy Fasani, who returned to the program this year, for his development as a player and leader.
"I've known coach Randy since I was in middle school," said Alger, who completed 8 of his 13 passes for 167 yards. "He's been influential (for me) as a mentor."
He was quick to spot Vrieling getting a jump on the MC defense for that first score early in the second.
About three minutes later, Alger hit McGovern up top for another TD.
Modesto Christian cut the lead to 13-7 on Isaac Schinmann's 2-yard run in fourth down shortly before the half.
Alger then found Kamps for yet another score with a little over 11 seconds left before halftime to provide his team with a two-possession cushion.
On the second play of the third quarter, Kamps finally broke free, racing 56 yards for the score.
RC had a 25-7 advantage.
The Crusaders finally scored in the fourth when Isaac Schinmann bulldozed his way in from two yards out.
Ozenbaugh gave credit to his offensive coordinator, Fasani, along with defensive coordinator Eddie Erdelatz for this monumental win.
Beside Alger, Kamps had a game-high 152 yards on 18 carries to help the offense.
The RC defense was led by inside linebacker Dale Fisher, who had a team-high 13 tackles.
Wyatt Van Vliet and McGovern, who also had an interception, had 11 stops each.
Kamps also had a fourth-down pick.
Austin Ries had 10 tackles and a quarterback sack. Garrett Bryan was also credited with a sack.
Punter Jacob Van Groningen had kick drop inside the MC 5. The Crusaders' last hope ended when they were called for roughing the punter down the stretch.
Ozenbaugh, in addition, recognized his ball boy and nephew Charlie Kjeldgaard.
"He kept the balls dried for us," Ozenbaugh said.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ripon Ch. 0 19 6 0 — 25
Modesto Ch. 0 7 0 6 — 13
R — Ian Vrieling 32 pass from Cade Alger (Jacob Van Groningen kick) 10:10
R — Sean McGovern 30 pass from Alger (kick failed), 6:38.
M — Isaac Schinmann 2 run (Hayden Sauser kick), 1:29.
R — Michael Kamps 19 pass from Alger (pass failed) 0:11.4.
R — Kamps 56 run (run failed), 11:13.
M — Dillon Johnson 20 pass from Hayden Sauser (pass failed), 4:39.