RIPON — There is an expectation to win at Ripon Christian, but the Knights also want to play well in the process.
Head coach Randy Fasani was not entirely pleased with his team’s 48-0 trouncing of Gustine on Friday. The Knights (4-0, 6-1 overall) remain on track to repeat as Southern League champion but have a tougher task ahead with a trip to co-leading Mariposa next week.
“It’s mainly the mental mistakes,” Fasani said, listing various miscues from missed assignments to pre-snap penalties. “Little things that high school kids do all the time but the best teams very rarely do.”
Ripon Christian showed once again why it’s the best in the small-school league despite the missteps. Gustine (1-2, 1-5), to its credit, hung with the Knights to start, trailing 7-0 after the first quarter. Ripon Christian missed a 39-yard field goal and turned it over on downs on its second and third drives.
It wasn’t much of a game from there, as Sean McGovern rambled for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries while the defense recorded a third shutout in the past four weeks.
The youthful Reds, who have sophomores and juniors in many key spots, were limited to 104 yards of offense while gashed for 424. Ripon Christian dropped quarterback Jonathan Martin (5 of 8, 50 yards) for four sacks, two from lineman Seth Gallo.
“We always come in respecting our opponent knowing that if we play bad they can shock us,” McGovern said. “For games like this we try to focus on the little stuff that we need to tidy up for the playoffs.
“We have to bring it a lot better than we did in the first quarter of this game and be ready for a physical game.”
Ripon Christian exploded for 27 points in the second quarter and did it in style.
Nolan Lingley (8 of 12, 140 yards) hit Ian Vrieling (three receptions, 79 yards) in stride with a high-arching toss that resulted in a 43-yard touchdown, and on the Knights’ following drive he connected with 6-foot-6 Jacob Van Groningen on a 2-yard jump ball into the end zone.
“We have a lot of weapons and a great offensive line,” McGovern said. “Being able to spread out the ball really helps us.”
The Knights weren’t finished yet.
Gustine trailed 27-0 in the final minute of the opening half and was putting together its best scoring threat since missing a 43-yard field goal on its first drive. Ripon Christian cornerback Will Gilbert helped preserve the shutout while expanding his team’s lead with an 89-yard interception return as time expired.
“As the play (developed), he rolled out and I left my zone — I was actually in terrible position,” Gilbert said. “He threw it right to me. I had some great blocks all the way down the field but almost got tackled by the quarterback.
“The coaches give us a good plan to execute and I think we did that pretty well. That’s what gives us the opportunities to do things like that.”
McGovern scored his third touchdown from 10 yards out with 5:39 left in the third quarter, putting the running clock in motion. Jake Grondz (five rushes, 54 yards) capped the final score with an 11-yard scamper on the first play of the fourth quarter.
And now it’s on to Mariposa.
“We definitely respect their talent and how tough they play, so we better bring it next week and stop making so many mistakes that are killing ourselves,” Fasani said.
Gustine 0 0 0 0 — 0
Ripon Ch. 7 27 7 7 — 48
R—Sean McGovern 7 run (Caleb Terpsma kick), 10:21.
R—McGovern 19 run (Terpsma kick), 8:13.
R—Ian Vrieling 43 pass from Nolan Lingley (Terpsma kick), 5:07.
R—Jacob Van Groningen 2 pass from Lingley (kick blocked), 1:23.
R—Will Gilbert 89 interception return (Terpsma kick), 0:00.
R—McGovern 10 run (Terpsma kick), 5:39.
R—Jake Grondz 19 run (Terpsma kick), 11:36.