RIPON – Ripon quieted the non-believers with a performance for the ages during its Trans Valley League opener at Stouffer Field.
The defending TVL champion, who dealt Escalon a loss for the first time in 16 years last fall, repeated the feat again Friday night.
This time, the Indians (1-0 TVL, 5-0) force-fed the Cougars a 35-3 defeat in front of a home audience.
“Escalon has been the measuring stick in the TVL for 20 years,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “That’s a great program and they’ve got a lot of history. To come in and get a victory like this says a lot about our kids and the type of football team we have.”
Ripon could have given its game ball to an assortment of players.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Price threw for a touchdown and ran for another that stretched the lead to 14-3 in the third quarter as the Indians pulled away.
Senior standout Michael Ysit ran for 80 yards on five carries, played stout defense, provided solid kick-return yardage and had a vicious third-quarter sack.
Junior Ryan Fugit had a great all-around game as well, highlighted by a 65-yard interception return that went to the house.
“That just completely took their heart away,” Fugit said of his return that made it 28-3 with 10:34 left in the game. “We were just fired up, and it was pretty much game (over) from there. We did what we came to do.”
Ripon’s run-defense was swarming and only gave up a field goal – the game’s first score midway through the second quarter. The Indians limited Escalon (0-1, 2-3) to just 51 yards on the ground.
Price (6 of 14, 57 yards) hooked up with Claudio Santos for an 8-yard touchdown pass, which was the beginning of 35 unanswered points. Santos’ score made it 7-3 at the half, but Ripon outscored the Cougars 28-0 over the final two quarters.
“We knew coming in it would be a dogfight,” Johnson said. “They’re such a good football school that we figured it would be a tough game. But we just wore them down at the end and our defense played great tonight.”
Ripon senior Kody Day recovered a fumble that set up Price’s rushing score with 7:38 left in the third. On the next defensive outing, Ysit’s sack from the quarterback’s blind side for an 8-yard loss forced yet another Escalon punt.
Two plays later, Ysit found the end zone on a 49-yard scamper down the right sideline with 4:45 left in the third.
After Fugit’s pick-6, Davis Armstrong (two carries, 10 yards) found the goal line on a 5-yard run that made up the final score with 4:02 left in regulation.
Ripon will host Modesto Christian next Friday at Stouffer Field at 7:30 p.m.
In sophomore action, Ripon defeated Escalon, 17-13.