NEWMAN — Orestimba’s Alex Millan and receiver Vince Lopez hooked up on a pair of long touchdowns, leading the Warriors to a 21-7 victory over Ripon Christian on Friday at Roger Pauletto Field.
With the victory, the Warriors took a major step toward their first Southern League title since 2017 — when they won their third straight championships — by beating the team many considered the favorite to take the SL crown.
Trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Knights (3-2, 2-1 SL) forced Orestimba to go three-and-out, but the ball caromed off Brady Grondz’s leg and the Warriors recovered on RC’s 23-yard line.
But the Knights’ defense again proved up to the task and forced Orestimba to turn the ball over on downs at the 15.
Ripon Christian then embarked on a seven-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Trey Fasani to Grondz with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter.
The Knights were driving for a potential tying score, but faced fourth-and-21 at Orestimba’s 29. RC opted to go for it, and Fasani’s pass was picked by Vince Lopez, as OHS took over at its own 6-yard line.
Two plays later, Lopez would strike again.
The 6-0, 165-pound speedster hauled in a pass from quarterback Alex Millan and raced untouched up the home sideline for an 88-yard TD, making it 21-7 with 5:19 to play in the contest.
It was Lopez’s second long touchdown of the night. He and Millan gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when they hooked up on an 84-yard score on the exact same play — an out and up.
All told, Lopez caught six passes for 258 yards.
“We really came in looking for a dogfight,” said Lopez, a senior. “Last year, we lost by three points, and we were looking at this as a revenge game.”
Ripon Christian will travel to take on Waterford next week.
Orestimba won the junior varsity game 50-14.