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Ripon digs early hole with costly turnovers
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Early mistakes and all-around youth hurt Ripon High in its non-league finale against Argonaut in Jackson Friday.

Head coach Chris Johnson hopes his team learns from the 30-19 loss with the Trans Valley League schedule kicking off next week against perennial powerhouse Hilmar at home.

“We’re having a hard time growing up,” said Johnson, adding that his defense starts five juniors and three sophomores. “We have a lot of young kids making too many mistakes. We’re getting better, though.

“The score might not be indicative of it, but the football team is improving.”

Sophomore Cole Herrin got Ripon (2-2) going in the right direction in the first quarter by intercepting a pass and returning it 60 yards for a touchdown.

The Indians’ lead was short-lived. Argonaut (3-0) struck with a 4-yard touchdown run from Tyler Rampage, his first of three scores. The touchdown was set up by a Ripon fumble deep in its own territory.

Things only got worse in the second quarter.

A high snap to quarterback Alex Gustin resulted in a safety, and on the ensuing kickoff Argonaut ran back a touchdown that was called back. The Mustangs scored on the drive anyway, putting them up 17-7 by halftime.

“We spotted them nine points,” Johnson said. “You can’t do that against a good football team.”

Ripon, to its credit, bounced back in the second half to stay within striking distance. Ryan Durrer pounded in a 1-yard touchdown run, but after the missed PAT the Indians couldn’t get any closer.

Argonaut ended up scoring 13 unanswered to seal it.

Gustin capped the final score with a 91-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The shifty senior finished with 114 yards on seven rushes and completed 13 of 28 passes for 145. Gustin had a hand in 259 of the team’s 300 yards.

 Jake McCreath caught five of his passes for 110 yards.

Linden 41, Ripon Christian 0
At Ripon High, Linden standout running back Jeremy Powers eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the third straight week, finishing with 275 and two scores on 25 attempts.

The Lions (1-2) totaled 423 yards while holding Ripon Christian (3-0) to 99 total. Quarterback Daniel Snider chipped in two touchdown runs.

Adam McKay recorded 12 tackles and a sack to lead the Knights defense. Conner Adams, Thomas Van Vliet, Anton den Dulk and Hayden Linville each recorded a fumble.

Ripon Christian has a tough draw for its first Southern League contest of the season next Friday, as it takes on defending champion LeGrand on the road.