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Ripon, Orestimba to battle for playoff bid
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Things were looking bleak for Ripon High’s football team a month ago.

The Indians lost their chief playmaker, Alex Gustin, to a leg injury while getting routed by Trans Valley League champion Escalon 45-13 on Oct. 8. Ripon suffered its third straight defeat, which put it at 2-4 on the season.

Three victories later, including an impressive 20-0 win over 2009 champion Modesto Christian, the Indians find themselves in a do-or-die scenario with an all-important showdown with Orestimba in Newman this Friday.

Both teams are 3-2 in the TVL and 5-4 overall, and they will battle for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-B playoff berth.

Gustin returned to the team last week and contributed to its 51-8 pummeling of Riverbank, but junior Jake McCreath, his replacement at quarterback, remained behind center. Gustin, now a running back, had four carries and scored a touchdown each time while piling up 110 yards in limited action.

With the stronger-armed McCreath (23-of-51, 335 yards, 5 TDs, interceptions), a converted receiver, running the hybrid spread/wing-t offense, look for Ripon to do some creative things with Gustin.

Sophomore Cole Herrin (21 receptions, 338 yards, 5 TDs; 5 interceptions) is a proven playmaker on both sides of scrimmage.

Ripon’s defense has been stout of late, giving up no more than 8 points in a game over the past three weeks. Some of that can be attributed to the level of competition.

Orestimba, meanwhile, presents challenges that the Indians haven’t faced yet all season.

It all starts with twin brothers Ravonne and Ramone Pious, who combine to make up the TVL’s top passing tandem.

Ravonne Pious (80-of-135, 1,555 yards, 18 TDs, 10 INTs; 543 rushing yards, 8 TDs) is a threat as both passer and rusher. His brother has 30 receptions for 714 yards and nine touchdowns.

Ripon must also keep an eye on wide out Raymond Musquez (22 receptions, 434 yards, 6 TDs) and leading rusher Mike King (760 yards, 10 TDs).