RIPON – A year ago, Waterford denied Ripon Christian its first outright Southern League football championship with a stunning late-season defeat.
“They stopped us cold,” running back Andrew Brown said.
On Friday, the Wildcats were helpless against anything the Knights tried – and Brown reminded them of it with every touch.
He wiggled, danced, spun and crawled for extra yardage, but his message was delivered loudest with a punch.
The ol’ stiff-arm.
“This is the best weapon right here,” Brown said following a 60-24 triumph, holding up his right hand.
The senior dynamo scored seven touchdowns and finished with more than 450 yards of total offense, leading an all-out assault on Waterford Friday evening at Stouffer Field.
Ripon Christian lit up the scoreboard, earning back every point it surrendered in last season’s 49-7 loss … and then some.
The final score, cast in bright high-definition lights, haunting the ’Cats as they collected in the end zone: Ripon Christian 60, Waterford 24.
“That was a huge factor in our aggression tonight, especially for our offense,” said Brown, who now has 109 touchdowns in a three-year varsity career.
Coach Randy Fasani said the Knights’ goals this season are shaped, in part, by last season’s loss at Waterford.
Ripon Christian (5-0 SL, 7-1) isn’t bashful about its plans.
The small-school, small-roster program aspires to unseat Le Grand as the league’s darling and capture the school’s first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section football championship.
That pointed focus came courtesy of the 2012 ’Cats (2-3, 3-5), which slipped one game below .500 in league play in 2013.
“We would have been outright champs, but we lost to Waterford,” Fasani said. “The kids used that to motivate themselves. They played four quarters.
“I saw guys flying to the ball. I’ve never seen linemen blocking down field the way they were tonight. It was a whole team effort.”
There were game balls to go around the locker room, for sure.
Junior quarterback Billy Marr was 10 of 18 for 216 yards with one touchdown, a 57 yard hook-up with Brown in the second quarter.
The defense was bludgeoned by Waterford’s inside power run, but stiffened in the second half. Sophomore Will Kamps added to his area-best sack total with two sacks, giving him 17 in seven games.
Defensive back Keegan Rivera pulled in an interception and Kevin Kramer scooped up a fumble as the Knights limited Waterford to just six points over the final two quarters.
The catalyst, however, was Brown, who was showered with “best ever” compliments by members of Waterford’s coaching staff after the game.
He finished with 289 yards on 31 carries, including touchdown runs of 1, 3, 15, 10, 36 and 6 yards.
He was also Marr’s favorite target in the passing game, turning six catches into 166 yards.
Casey Kamper and Kevin Kramer rounded out the scoring on runs of 18 and 20 yards, respectively.
“I know its small-school football,” Fasani said, “but Andrew Brown can play at any school. He’s that good.”
Ripon Christian has won six straight games and remains on a collision course with Le Grand in two weeks. The two will meet on the regular season’s final Friday at Stouffer Field in a game that will likely decide the SL crown and playoff seeding.
Fasani knows his team has loose ends to clean up before then. They also have another game – next week at Gustine.
RC was penalized 13 times, missed four extra points and gave up more than 200 rushing yards.
“They’re downhill run is the same exact style that Le Grand runs,” Fasani said of Waterford’s attack, “but I’m focused on Gustine right now.”