SAN ANDREAS — Ripon High used its No. 7 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V as motivation on Friday.
The result of that was a dominating 28-13 first-round win against No. 2 Calaveras.
“We wanted to send a message on what the (Trans-Valley League) is all about,” said Indians coach Chris Musseman. “The TVL is a powerful small-school league.
“They seeded us No. 7 out of eight teams.”
The TVL is 4-0 in the postseason so far, with Escalon and Modesto Christian — which share the league title with Ripon — and fourth-place Hilmar also winning their openers in Division VI.
The Indians (7-3) are unbeaten on the road this year. They’re hoping to keep that streak intact for next week’s semifinal in Grass Valley against No. 6 Bear River (8-3), which upset defending Division V champion and third-seeded Capital Christian, 26-7.
Ripon took advantage of its many opportunities Friday against the Mother Lode League’s runner-up.
Included were a pair of interceptions by Justin Hansen that led to big-play scores. The first pick-off quickly resulted in a 55-yard dash to the end zone by quarterback Ryan Daggett.
“I made my reads and was looking for the first down,” he said, recalling that his receivers were tightly covered as he dropped back to pass.
With the game scoreless after the opening quarter, Daggett got more than the first down as he found daylight along the sidelines.
Calaveras (9-2) tied the game midway in the second quarter thanks to Triston Madsen’s 55-yard punt return.
The Indians went back to grinding out the yardage via the ground game. The offensive line paved the way for Riley Machado, Michael Winters and Roland Davis. The effective attack helped set the passing game, with Daggett hitting Davis for the 17-yard score shortly before the half.
Calaveras’ Trey Ringlein nearly broke scored on the ensuing kickoff, instead, giving his team good field position at the Ripon 32.
Calaveras had three shots in the waning seconds at the end zone, with Winters batting down the final pass.
The Indians continued to hammer the ball inside in the second half.
“We kept taking what the (Calaveras) defense gave us,” said Musseman.
But then it was Hansen who simply took away what the Calaveras passing game served up.
“I was reading the quarterback’s eyes,” he said of his two interceptions.
Hansen also credited the defense for limiting Calaveras to 135 total yards, including 106 rushing.
His second interception set up Winters’ 51-yard touchdown.
Prior to that, Machado, who picked 44 of his 58 yards — on 18 carries — in the second half, scored from 2 yards out.
Winters finished with a game-high 91 yards on 17 touches. Daggett was 8 of 12 passing for 91 yards and no interception.