The results of the All-Southern League team postseason awards reflected the dominance of Ripon Christian in 2019.
Head coach Randy Fasani nominated 12 Knights to first-team spots, all of whom got the nod by opposing coaches. Four of them earned five of the top honors, including Most Valuable Player Sean McGovern.
Ripon Christian went 7-0 in league for a second straight year, finishing 10-2 overall following a 47-28 loss to Hilmar in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs. Five of the Knights’ league wins ended in shutouts, and they outscored opponents, 293-14.
“It just shows how much other teams respect us,” McGovern said. “We have a really good program going with a lot of good players.”
Quarterback Nolan Lingley was named Outstanding Offensive Player, inside linebacker Wyatt Van Vliet earned Outstanding Defensive Player and Garrett Bryan repeats as Defensive Lineman of the Year. Denair’s Carlo Morales prevented the clean sweep, as he was voted Offensive Lineman of the Year.
The versatile McGovern is a three-time all-league honoree, previously making it as a defensive back and wide receiver. He converted to running back his senior year, amassing 1,374 yards rushing (8.4 per carry), 513 receiving and 32 touchdowns from scrimmage. He also had a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Waterford.
Defensively, the rangy 6-foot-1, 190-yard safety compiled 57 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass deflections.
“I was pretty excited (to get MVP),” McGovern said. “It has been a goal of mine since I entered high school, and I couldn’t do it without all my teammates and coaches. The coaches put me in position to make plays, and whether I ran the ball or was catching the ball it helped to have such great offensive lineman and a great quarterback. Everybody allowed me to make plays.”
Lingley had a big bounce-back season after missing the majority of 2018 with a shoulder injury. He capped his career with 2,055 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions while completing 64.3 percent of his passes.
Senior linemen Erik Weststeyn and Seth Gallo were among Ripon Christian’s all-league selections on offense. Joining them are receiver Ian Vrieling (37 catches, 588 yards, three TDs), tight end Jacob Van Groningen (15 receptions, 248 yards, three TDs) and receiver/kicker Caleb Terpsma (193 yards, two TDs; 51 of 58 PATs, 3 for 3 field goals).
Van Vliet, a third-year starter like McGovern, had another productive campaign for Ripon Christian’s stingy defense. He led the Knights with 119 tackles (30 for losses), four sacks, four fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles.
The 6-2, 255-pound Bryan followed Van Vliet on the tackles list with 94 (27 for losses), adding seven sacks. Fellow lineman Ty Mensonides (76 tackles, 23.5 for losses, 7.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries), pass rusher Declan Van Vuren (73 tackles, 29.5 for tackles, 14 sacks, four forced fumbles) and cornerback Will Gilbert (49 tackles, five interceptions, 16 pass deflections) round out Ripon Christian’s all-league selections.