RIPON — Defense was the name of the game for the Ripon High Indians in Friday’s 34-0 win over visiting Weston Ranch.
At least, that was to be expected from coach Chris Musseman, who saw his team keep the speedy Cougars in check while mustering up several turnovers in the non-league affair.
Gregory Clark recovered an early fumble, Nico Illardi came up with interception, Grant Wiebe also recovered a loose ball and Danny Hernandez made a nifty interception in the fourth quarter.
But for the most part, those plays — outside of Clark recovery — didn’t hurt the Cougars and their new coach Kevin Breaker too much.
“We made too many mistakes,” he said. “They took advantage of the holes in our defense.”
No one more so than Ripon senior quarterback Ryan Daggett. While he only attempted three passes, Daggett broke loose for several long runs, including one for a 75-yard touchdown in the second half.
Ahead 14-0 in the second quarter, he once again displayed his quick burst of speed, racing 61 yards before being stopped at Weston Ranch’s 1.
Daggett scored on the next play.
“He made some big plays for us with those runs,” Musseman said.
As good as they were on defense, the Indians did show some inconsistencies on the other side of scrimmage.
“The offense usually takes a little longer get going during the season,” the Ripon coach added.
The Indians (1-0) opened the game in fine fashion. Weston Ranch (0-1) coughed up the opening drive, with Clark coming up with the loose ball at the Cougars 34.
It took just seven plays before senior Roland Davis scored on a 5-yard run. Nathan Valdez’s extra point kick made it 7-0.
Ripon took advantage of good field position in the second quarter following a poor punt.
A 15-yard gain by Davis helped set up Danny Hernandez’s 13-yard scoring run, capping a three-play, 30-yard drive.
Shortly before the half, Daggett raced past the Cougar defense to give his team a 21-0 advantage.
Weston Ranch sustained a few drives in the second half but were kept out of the end zone. “I’ve never been goose egged before (as a coach) but this isn’t about me,” said Breaker, who is working from the ground up to develop a football program.
He was disappointed with his team’s failure to execute along with losing a few players to grades prior the opener.
Breaker is hoping for better showing by his team two weeks from now at Franklin.
The Indians will travel to Sonora next week.
They closed out the opener with Justin Hansen scoring on a 31-yard run.
Statistically, Daggett was the top rusher with 154 yards on six pops, including two touchdowns.
Quarterback Amier Bowen led Weston Ranch with 39 yards on 16 carries.
W. Ranch 0 0 0 0 — 0
Ripon 7 14 6 7 — 34
R — Roland Davis 5 run (Nathan Valdez kick), 9:07.
R — Danny Hernandez 13 run (Valdez kick), 9:04.
R — Ryan Daggett 1 run (Valdez kick), 3:11.
R — Daggett 75 run (kick blocked), 3:28.
R — Justin Hansen 31 run (Valdez kick), 11:42.