RIPON – It’s hard to distinguish between which of the two stats is more telling.
On one hand you have Ripon Christian running back Kevin Kramer and his 126-yard, two-touchdown performance, which was made possible by left side blockers Will Kamps and Jack Schollenberg – a gritty, grinding showing that seemed to match up perfectly with the wet weather that had seemed to blanket the Northern San Joaquin Valley Friday night.
On the other hand you had players like Kamps and the rest of the Ripon Christian defense that had taken away Mariposa’s best player and limited it’s version of Kramer to only 45 yards.
Either way, they both added up to a 26-0 thrashing of the visiting Grizzlies on a very wet Halloween night at Stouffer Field.
“We were confident and we knew exactly what it was that we wanted to do to tonight,” said Kamps, who recorded three sacks, forced a fumble and was part of a crushing defensive presence that held Mariposa to less than 150 total yards. “We knew that we were going to have to bring it tonight and that’s what we did.
“We knew the guys that we wanted to focus on and I think that we did an excellent job of taking them out of their game and playing ours. It was a team effort. Everybody had to work together to make that happen and it feels good to be able to say that.”
The Knights’ pass-heavy offense – led by senior quarterback Billy Marr – was partially shelved Friday because of the wet conditions after a relatively crisp pass that was tipped into the air was intercepted by the Grizzlies, who came into the game 5-0. While Ripon Christian would open the game up in the second half, the first quarter ended without a score and left tensions high on every possession.
That set the table for Kramer – the between-the-tackles pinball runner that has earned a reputation for pushing hard to get even an extra inch when it’s possible – to play a key role in the offense that would primarily be a time-of-possession game in the second half.
And his performance, and those of the guys that opened the holes in front of him, were enough to make head coach Trey Ozenbaugh a happy man at the end of the night.
“One of the things that I’ve said is that when we get prepared and we’re focused we can play with anybody and I think that you saw that tonight,” Ozenbaugh said. “I think you have to give it up to Will Kamps and Jack Schollenberg on the left side of that line and to Kevin Kramer who is just such a strong runner. He’s a guy that’ll push forward and that was so important tonight.
“He’s one of those runners that isn’t afraid to take that pounding and do that heavy lifting and I think something like that makes a big difference when you’re talking about conditions like those that we faced tonight.”