RIPON — The Ripon Indians improved to 6-0 for the season by handling Modesto Christian Friday at Stouffer Field, 35-13.
More importantly, they’re 2-0 in the Trans Valley League thanks to a usual stout defense and an offense that showcased a few new wrinkles.
“Our passing game really stepped it up,” said Ripon coach Chris Johnson, who was particularly impressed with wide receiver Bradley Clark.
The sure-handed senior had a breakout game, hauling in seven passes for 149 yards.
“Bradley and I did some work in practice,” said junior quarterback Nick Price, who was 9 of 20 for 203 yards without an interception. “We worked on our fade routes.”
One of Clark’s grabs went for 57 yards in the third quarter. He sprung away from two tackles while tiptoeing along the sidelines. The big play set up Price’s 16-yard scoring run.
Michael Ysit had another big game, scoring three times, including two on the ground. He had a game-high 119 yards on 10 carries and hauled in two passes for 60 yards.
The Indians had trouble getting their offense in rhythm. Most of it was due in part to several false-start penalties. “Because of that, we were looking at second-and-long, or third-and-long situations,” Johnson said.
It was the Ripon defense that came up with the game’s first break. Josh Clark intercepted a pass midway through the opening quarter. Two plays later, he scored on a 5-yard run.
Modesto Christian (0-2, 3-3) charged back with a strong running attack led by Andre Edwards, who carried the ball three times on the drive for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Tied 7-7, Ripon went ahead on Ysit’s 19-yard touchdown run in the second. He found his way to the end zone by following his blockers and making a cutback run to dodge the final defender.
Shortly before halftime, Ysit scored on a 40-yard pass from Price to give the Indians a 21-7 cushion.
His final touchdown came late in the game. Ysit found some running room, racing pass the Modesto Christian defense on the 56-yard run.
Johnson, again, credited his own defense for keeping the Crusaders in check for most of the night.
“Our guys do a good job of pursuing the ball carrier,” he said. “They will fly to the football.”