RIPON – Way before he played quarterback in the NFL, and even before becoming a two-year starter at Stanford University, Randy Fasani had a stellar career at Del Oro of Loomis – one of the high school football powerhouses among the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Nowadays, Fasani resides in Ripon and is officially Ripon Christian’s new head varsity football coach.
“(The NFL) was a wonderful experience,” said Fasani, who was RC’s offensive coordinator the last two years and co-head coach last season. “I decided to walk away from (football), but the Lord has blessed me with an amazing family and jobs that have allowed us to live comfortably.
“We’re fortunate to be here in Ripon and to coach these kids.”
Fasani was considered the top high school quarterback in the country by USA Today and Parade his senior year and totaled almost 3,000 yards passing. He helped his squad win its ninth consecutive league title, but the Golden Eagles did not take home the section banner that year after being eliminated by Oakdale in the first round of Division II.
Del Oro finished second in the section tournament in 1995 when a knee injury ended Fasani’s season in the title game. However, Fasani did win a section-championship ring the year before that as a sophomore when Del Oro beat Rio Americano for the banner – the program’s third straight section championship and fourth in six years.
“I grew up in Granite Bay and I went to Del Oro,” said the 34-year old Fasani, who currently works as an agricultural salesman for Sierra Gold Nurseries. “Proud to be a former Golden Eagle. I love following them still.
“(Del Oro) has an unmatchable tradition, and that’s what we’re trying to develop here at Ripon Christian – a little bit of tradition.
“Our program continues to improve and that’s our goal. This year, our goal is to win a (Sac-Joaquin) Section championship.”
Last season, RC went 9-3 overall and its season ended in the second round of the playoffs. The Knights came up short against Foresthill of Auburn, 32-26. Ripon Christian only lost two previous games aside from that playoff defeat, which came against cross-town rival Ripon and Southern League foe Waterford.
During the Knight’s 49-7 loss against the Wildcats -- who finished in a three-way tie for first with Ripon Christian and Mariposa in the Southern League -- RC was banged up and were missing key starters.
In 2011-12, RC had itself another 12-game season under the team’s then first-year offensive coordinator Fasani. The Knights went 7-5 overall and finished 5-2 in league. Offensively, RC tallied up 4,522 yards (1,939 passing) and scored 100 total points in their two playoff games alone. The Knights were eliminated by Bradshaw Christian Sacramento that year, 61-40.
This year, RC is aiming toward the third round of the postseason and further, perhaps.
David Henderson (OL/ILB), Eric Broker (OL, DL) and Andrew Brown (RB/FS) will be three of the Knights’ incoming senior leaders who are expected to make an impact.
“We’re always small in numbers, but big in heart,” said Fasani, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round in 2002 as a quarterback out of Palo Alto. “The core kids we have coming to workouts in the summer are extremely motivated and want to be better than they were last year.”
Fasani takes over for John Vander Schaaf, who was the squad’s head coach for the last six years. They served as co-head coaches in 2012.
“It was just personal reasons,” Vander Schaaf said of stepping down and passing the torch. “My son (James) is going to play football back east, so I wanted to have my weekends free.
“I really love the program and I could see the guys coaching with me were very good coaches, so I wasn’t too worried about the program moving on in the same lane we have been the last couple of years. I felt free to take a step back.
“(Fasani) is truly a treasure to Ripon Christian. They are fortunate to have a strong Christian guy like him able to lead them as a head coach. He’s truly a one-in-a-million individual. The program will be as good, if not, better than ever.”
Fasani seems to have the right idea, as well.
“We tell parents that if all we do is make their kids better football players, then we failed as coaches,” he concluded. “I want these kids to mature in their relationships with Christ and on the football field. We have high expectations during that time of teaching them to not only be better young men, but better football players.”