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Knights sharp in playoff opener
Ripon Christian running back Andrew Brown finds running room against Sierra Ridge and heads for the endzone for the first of his six touchdowns in Saturday playoff action. - photo by HIME ROMERO

RIPON – There was little doubt as to who was the superior team after Ripon Christian’s crushing 60-26 victory over Sierra Ridge Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff opener. Just as there was little doubt as to who was the game’s most dominant player.

Sophomore Andrew Brown put together a postseason debut to remember, erupting for six touchdowns and over 200 yards rushing in a one-sided Ripon Christian victory over the Rams. Brown got loose on scoring runs of 53, 3, 15, 1 and 5 yards, and also hauled in a 20-yard touchdown reception.

“Andrew impresses me more and more every week,” Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaaf said. “We always knew he had the open field playmaking ability; what impresses me is his durability and his toughness.

“He has a willingness to play as a team player and continues to grow week by week.”

Ripon Christian found its offensive unit in a stagnate state to open the game, trailing 8-0 early in the second quarter. Brown played an integral role in pulling the Knights out of their funk, scoring on his next two touches after Ripon Christian fell behind.

Ripon Christian quarterback Dan Vos (11-of-17, 149  yards, 2 TDs) was efficient in leading the offense, completing passes to five different receivers and regrouping an offensive  unit that had three turnovers in the game’s first 15 minutes.

“This is a team of hard workers and they are not afraid to grind it out,” Vander Schaaf said. “Even though we kind of specialize in the big play we have a team that puts their nose to the grindstone and kept at it.

“Sure enough the big plays started popping after that.”

Sierra Ridge allowed glimpses of its athleticism to be seen in four scoring plays of over 40 yards.  Running back Byron Thomas scorched the Knights for an 80-yard scoring run, breaking two tackles and turning up the sidelines for a one man race.

The scoring run was a fleeting moment in comparison to the night Brown was able to put together. It was Brown’s third six-touchdown performance of the season, and there were moments early when it looked as if the Knights would need each.

The challenge of improving on such an impressive postseason debut will not come easy for the Knights, who will make the trek north to take on Bradshaw Christian. Bradshaw Christian will come into the contest on the heels of a bye, giving a team that has not lost since week two a much-needed breather.

“We are grateful for the opportunity that is in front of us first of all,” Vander Schaff said. “Secondly, Bradshaw’s strength is their big boys up front and that is our strength too. We are really proud of our interior lineman.

“It is going to be an interesting matchup and I am looking forward to being a part of it.”