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Ripon overcomes letdown effort to dispatch Hughson
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HUGHSON — After one of the biggest wins in program history last week, Ripon didn’t expect to find itself ahead by only six points at the half Friday night in a Trans Valley League showdown at Hughson.
And while the Indians turned it on in the second half, scoring 18 unanswered points in a 38-14 rout of the Huskies, it wasn’t the kind of polished victory that head coach Chris Musseman was hoping to see as the regular season nears its end.
Ripon (4-1 TVL, 8-1 overall) handed Escalon, previously the top-ranked small-schools team in the state, its first loss last week, and they’re likely headed toward a three-way share of the league title with Hilmar.
“We came out pretty flat tonight and didn’t execute very well,” he said. “It took us an entire half to get going, and we ended up dropping a lot of passes. Our PAT and field goal team was terrible tonight, they blocked every single PAT that we attempted, and it seemed like we had a little bit of a letdown after last week.”
Hughson took its only lead at 7-6 in the opening minute of the second quarter when Aiden Meyer hooked up with Nolan Rawe for a 45-yard touchdown pass play.
Ripon quarterback Nico Ilardi, playing his second game since returning from a knee injury, threw for three touchdowns. Danny Hernandez had touchdown runs of 52 and 15 yards. He added a two-point run for Ripon’s lone point-after conversion of the night. Brandon Rainer contributed one TD catch and a TD rush.
“We had such a huge win for our program last week, and we’re still a little bit beat up,” Musseman said. “It was a very physical game, and when you go to a place like Hughson, you’re going to pay a physical toll.”
Even the lower-level call-ups were banged up by the end of the game. Musseman has had to bring up younger players to help fill out his dwindling roster.
The Indians will tune up for the postseason with next week’s regular-season finale against visiting Modesto Christian.