RIPON – The Knights had enough of an offensive arsenal to put a scare in Southern League favorite Le Grand on Friday.
However, the Ripon Christian High varsity football squad was overpowered in numbers and big plays.
The Bulldogs not only had nearly twice the personnel – 17 players suited for the Knights – but delivered on a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns in their 56-34 victory at Stouffer Field.
“If it wasn’t for those two kickoffs and maybe that long third-quarter passing play (for a TD) we would have been right in the game,” said RC coach John Vander Schaaf.
Every time the Knights scored, Le Grand (1-0, 4-0) answered back.
Ripon Christian (0-1, 1-3) also came out sluggish, trailing 21-0 early in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs cashed in on their first three possessions, with Daniel Guizar scoring the first two touchdowns and quarterback Alex Bucio hitting Zach Moreno on an 11-yard scoring toss.
Danny Vos, the Knights’ junior quarterback, then got untracked, directing his team on a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped by Brandon Dotinga’s 11-yard touchdown grab.
Moreno took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for another Le Grand score. He had four touchdowns in this game.
Down 28-7 at the intermission, RC wasted little time getting its offense going in the third quarter.
Andrew Brown returned the opening kickoff to midfield, and a few plays later Vos scrambled for a 41-yard score.
The Bulldogs immediately responded on Antonio Garcia’s 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
RC fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Le Grand excellent field position.
This time, the Knights’ defense, led by linebacker Tim Ignacio, who had a quarterback sack on fourth down, kept the Bulldogs in check.
RC took over, driving 73 yards thanks to a pair of 15-yard penalties – Le Grand was cited for personal foul and pass interference on the drive – and scoring on Brown’s 1-yard plunge.
The Knights tried an onside kick that only provided excellent field position for the Bulldogs.
Guizar had a 40-yard touchdown run, scoring his third for the game.
RC had a glimmer of hope following Josh Van Groningen’s nifty one-hand touchdown grab in the end zone that cut the lead, 42-26.
But those hopes quickly faded for the Knights as Moreno hauled in touchdown passes of 44- and 85- yards to close out the high-scoring third quarters that featured both teams combining for 47 points.
In the fourth, RC put together a time-consuming 11-play drive highlighted by Kalvin Prins’ 5-yard TD grab.
Brown later had an interception, but the Knights were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
“Our kids played great,” Knights coach Vander Schaaf said. “Our defensive line also did a good job.”
Offensively, Vos completed 27 of his 38 passes for 240 yards while tossing for three scores and no interception.
He also rushed for 95 yards.
“Danny had really good game,” said Vander Schaaf.