RIPON — The Ripon High Indians took care of business in Friday’s Trans Valley League finale at Stouffer Field, disposing of Orestimba, 41-14.
In doing so, they’re assured of hosting a first-round playoff game next week.
“This will be the first time since 1993 that Ripon will host a playoff,” said head coach Chris Johnson, who received the celebratory Gatorade splash in some rather cold and chilly conditions at the conclusion of the game. “This (playoff game) will be big for our team, school and city.”
The Indians (4-2, 8-2) took advantage of Orestimba turnovers and penalties.
The first came early on as the defense led by Anthony Baciocco recovered a Warrior fumble at his own 32. The two-way starter had the key play in the 70-yard, seven-play drive, weaving his way through Orestimba defenders and picking up 20 yards.
Baciocco helped give his team a 7-0 lead, scoring on another 20-yard run, with Cole Herrin converting the extra-point kick.
Ripon scored again on its next passion, making the most of good field position at midfield.
Baciocco and Josh McCreath handled the bulk of the ground game and, in the process, helped set up Wengel’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Down 13-0, the Warriors (2-4, 5-5) came through with a score late in the first, with quarterback Dillon Martins hooking up with Chase Richey on a 25-yard pass play.
Martins’ extra-point kick helped trim the deficit, 13-7.
A turning point took place on special teams. A second-quarter penalty involved Ripon punter Cole Herrin getting roughed up, giving the Indians second chance. Rather than regain possession with a chance of tying the game, the Warriors gave Ripon new life on the drive.
Baciocco quickly made Orestimba pay, breaking loose on a 55-yard TD run.
“Our offensive line did a great job blocking. I was able to watch the play develop and pick my holes,” he later said.
Ripon forced another turnover, with Reed Yoshida picking off a pass at his own 34. Minutes later, Jack McCreath found some room along the sideline, going 54 yards to help setup Herrin’s 17-yard scoring strike from Wengel.
Down 27-7, Orestimba came out strong at halftime, taking the opening drive and scoring when quarterback Wengel found Ernie Esquivez on a 21-yard pass play.
Jake McCreath helped Ripon get some of those points back thanks to a 20-yard scoring strike from Wengel.
Orestimba committed yet another turnover early in the fourth. The Indians were quick to capitalize as Baciocco had a 41-yard run to the Warrior 3. Two plays, Baciocco tallied his third TD of the game. He racked up 210 yards on 16 carries.
Yoshida added the finishing touches on senior night, scoring on a 28-yard run in the waning seconds of the game.