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Ripon Christian rocks Stone Ridge Christian
Top-seeded Knights advances to 3rd SJS final; Woodland Christian next
Stone Ridge-Ripon Christian football
Ripon Christian lineman Jacob Kowes (65) pressures Stone Ridge Christian quarterback Noah Lund (15). GARY JENSEN/



Stone Ridge 0 6 6 0 — 12

Ripon Christian 14 14 20 7 — 56


First quarter

R — Trey Fasani 7 run (Ethan Schenk kick), 6:15

R — Grant Sonke 7 run (Schenk kick), 1:46


Second quarter

R — Derek Van Elderen 15 run (Schenk kick), 10:05

S — Hector Esquivez 3 run (kick failed), 2:35

R — Thys Van der Hoek 3 pass from Fasani (Schenk kick), 35.5


Third quarter

R — Sonke 3 run (kick failed), 9:16

S — Esquivez 2 run (kick failed), 5:36

R — Van der Hoek 20 pass from Fasani (Schenk kick), 5:15

R — Brady Grondz 53 interception (Schenk kick), 3:23


Fourth quarter

R — Grondz 10 run (Schenk kick), 5:42


OAKDALE — There was no doubt Ripon Christian High came to play Friday.

The top-seeded RC Knights disposed of the No. 4 Stone Ridge Christian Knights in the semifinal clash of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoffs played at Oakdale High, 56-12.

"We were strong in all three phases of the game," said RC coach Phil Grams. "It's the defense that's our calling card."

So much so that his team deferred to kickoff after winning the opening toss, allowing the RC defense to set the early tempo.

Stone Ridge Christian of Merced could do very little on offense. Both scores by these Knights were helped out by RC penalties.

RC (10-2), on offense, was efficient enough to score on all seven possessions during the game.

Senior quarterback Trey Fasani was 12 of 17 in passing for 157 yards with no interceptions while throwing for a pair of touchdowns and running for another.

His first one set the table for RC.

Fasani directed that initial score, capping the six-play drive with his 7-yard run midway through the first quarter. Ethan Schenk's kick made it 7-0.

RC's next possession moments later was highlighted by Grant Sonke's 7-yard TD run. Sonke scored again early in the third quarter.

Jacob Kowes helped set up the next RC touchdown in the second quarter. The senior defensive lineman scooped up a blocked punt on special teams, returning the ball to the Stone Ridge 10.

RC turned to a little trickery, with Derek Van Elderen scoring from 15 yards out on a reverse, giving his team a 21-0 lead.

Stone Ridge (9-3) followed that up with a Hector Esquivez TD.

Fasani and company engineered a two-minute drill to close out the half. The RC quarterback found his 6-foot-8 tight end Thys Van der Hoek on a 3-yard scoring toss with 35.5 second left.

The two connected again on a well-timed play in the third quarter.

"It was a play we practiced all week," Fasani said.

Up 34-12 -- both teams traded scores to open the second half -- Fasani feinted a bit while dropping back to pass, drawing the Stone Ridge linebackers.

"As soon as I saw that, I thought this has got to work," Van der Hoek recalled.

Fasani floated his pass to Van der Hoek, catching him in stride for the 20-yard score.

The top pass-catcher was Griffin de Abreu, who had six receptions for 64 yards.

The RC defense provided the encore performance.

Junior defensive back Brady Grondz was at the right place at the right time, picking off a pass, scampering and returning the interception 53 yards for a touchdown.

Grondz closed out the scoring in the fourth with a 10-yard run.

Next up for RC is No. 3 Woodland Christian on Nov. 25 or 26 at either Sacramento City College or St. Mary’s in Stockton.