RIPON — Ripon was plenty motivated for its Sac-Joaquin Section Division V quarterfinal against former Trans-Valley League foe Mountain House on Friday.
Coming off a first-round bye, the second-seeded Indians needed just two quarters to get their point across in a thorough 49-20 thrashing. They led 42-6 at halftime and will host No. 3 Bear River (10-1) of Grass Valley next week.
Mountain House (10-2), the No. 7 seed, is part of a three-way title share in its inaugural season in the new-look Western Athletic Conference. The Mustangs lost their three previous contests against Ripon, and they were ahead 21-7 at halftime of the 2017 meeting before losing, 33-21.
“They said in the papers they wanted to play us, that they should have beaten us last year,” Ripon senior running back/linebacker Roland Davis said. “We wanted to come out and beat them real bad.”
Mission accomplished — for a half, at least. Ripon (10-1) ran just five offensive plays in the second half against 33 for the Mustangs. Ripon coach Chris Musseman admitted that, with the game well in hand, his team had checked out by the start of the third quarter.
“As a coach, I need to do a better job of finding a way to keep them mentally focused in that situation,” he said. “It was a letdown by all of us and that’s on me. The kids did a good job of fighting them off at the end.”
Davis was one of many key contributors for the TVL co-champion Indians. He rushed for 126 yards on only six carries and scored on a 3-yard return after Gregory Clark blocked a punt on Mountain House’s first drive of the contest. Ripon took a 14-0 lead on that play and rallied for 28 unanswered points to start.
“We saw holes in their defense and we exposed them over and over again,” said Danny Hernandez, another two-way standout.
Hernandez added touchdown scampers of 30 and 17 yards during Ripon’s first-quarter onslaught, finishing with 92 yards on five attempts. He later registered the Indians’ final touchdown in style, intercepting a pass from back-up quarterback Timothy Cantu II (4 of 13, 71 yards) and returning it 93 yards to put the running clock in play.
“I was really hoping for a pick-six,” Hernandez said. “Last game I was really close so I’m happy to get this one. They weren’t throwing to me all night, and when I saw the quarterback looking my way I jumped the route.”
Ripon QB Ryan Daggett completed 5 of 7 passes for 109 yards. His 48-yard touchdown toss to Dorian Dougherty capped first-half scoring with 44.3 seconds left. Derric Roy chimed in with two short-yardage touchdowns, grinding out 31 yards in all on seven tries. The Indians tallied 369 yards in the first half while holding Mountain House to 99.
Ripon’s defense handcuffed a read-option attack that came in averaging nearly 40 points per game. The Indians’ dominance was established at the outset, as Mustangs ball carriers were dropped for losses on their first four carries. Ripon linebacker Brandon Rainer accounted for the first two tackles for losses.
Larry Etherton, Troy Brogan, Grant Wiebe, Nico Ilardi, Caleb Delgado and Hernandez also made stops behind the line of scrimmage. Wiebe had two sacks, and Roy contributed one.
“They come out in a set where they have their guards and tackles split out a little bit,” Rainer said. “Our game plan was for me to step up to the line and blitz and that worked in the beginning. They ran that play a couple of times and they stopped running it.
“We just had our way on defense all night. Everyone was just flying to the ball.”
Two of Mountain House’s touchdowns were on fumble recoveries. Deenami Maggard, an impressive 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver and defensive end, stripped Daggett of the ball on a quarterback scramble and returned in 30 yards to the end zone midway through the third quarter.
Ripon, with its starters on the sideline, fumbled on its only offensive play in the fourth quarter, and Elias Escobar strolled in from 40 yards out to tally the final points of the game with 6:55 remaining.
Maggard (three catches, 98 yards) showed off his athletic ability throughout. His strip sack in the second quarter — Taeshaun Hodge-Maroney scooped up the loose ball — set the Mustangs offense up at the Ripon 10 but they were unable to take advantage of the favorable field position. He earlier scored on a 66-yard catch-and-run after outleaping a defender near midfield.
Mountain House’s top rusher, Vladik Sutherland, was held to 26 yards on 13 rushes, while quarterback Jesse Jordan (2 of 8, 74 yards; 10 rushes, 33 yards) hobbled off the field with an apparent leg injury on the opening series of the second half and never returned.
“They have some great athletes,” Musseman said. “What you can you say? When you go 10-2 like they did, that’s a great season.”
M. House 0 6 8 6—20
Ripon 21 21 0 7—49
R—Danny Hernandez 30 (Nathan Valdez kick), 10:06.
R—Roland Davis 3 punt return (Valdez kick), 8:00.
R—Hernandez 17 run (Valdez kick), 4:29.
R—Derric Roy 3 run (Valdez kick), 11:56.
M—Keenami Maggard 66 pass from Jesse Jordan (kick missed), 9:37.
R—Roy 1 run (Valdez kick), 2:56.
R—Dorian Dougherty 48 pass from Ryan Daggett (Valdez kick), 0:44.3
M—Maggard 30 fumble return (Timothy Cantu II run), 6:15.
R—Hernandez 93 interception return (Valdez kick), 11:02.
M—Elias Escobar 40 fumble return (run failed), 4:24.