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Knights one win from section championship berth
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Ripon Christian QB Danny Vos escapes the pocket and evades Elliot Christian lineman Cameron Faulkner in last weeks SJS Division VI first-round contest at Modesto Christian. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

They have to beat the No. 1 seed.

They have to do it on their field.

And they’ll have to travel over two hours to get to the field to do it.

Yet, there is no other place where Ripon Christian would rather be.

The Knights will make the long trek to Foresthill to take on the Foresthill Wildfires in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI semifinal tonight. The Wildfires (9-1) are coming off a first round bye and with a victory over the Knights they would earn a second consecutive trip to the section championship.

A season ago Foresthill came out on the wrong end of a championship game blowout, getting drilled 62-6 in the Division-VI title game. The squad has put itself in position for another shot, coming into the semifinal on an eight-game win streak.

The Wildfires will depend on their rushing attack for the majority of its snaps, trusting a ground game that has rushed for over 200 yards in all but three contests. Wes Archbold leads the Wildfires rushing attack, finishing regular season play with 926 yards and a dozen touchdowns. In the team’s regular season-ending win Archbold had his best game of the season with four touchdowns.

The Knights may enter the contest more battle tested than Foresthill, as the Wildfires only have one team on its 10-game schedule that finished the the regular season with a winning record. Woodland Christian (No. 3 seed) was the only playoff qualifying team Foresthill faced.

The Knights have seen a laundry list of playoff qualifiers with five teams with postseason invitations on their schedule.

Ripon Christian (9-2) will have to get another herculean effort from running back Andrew Brown. Brown had a pedestrian effort in Ripon Christian’s first round win over Elliot Christian (19 carries, 81 yard, TD), but can change the dynamic of a contest with one touch of the ball.

If the Knights can knock off the No. 1 seed they would meet the winner of the Big Valley Christian-Brookside Christian for a shot at the first football section championship in school history.