Ripon Christian and Ripon are gearing up for two of the top small-school programs in Northern California.
For the second straight week, Ripon Christian is facing a CIF Northern California Division VI-AA Bowl Game contestant after falling to Stone Ridge Christian, 14-13. On Friday, the Knights (1-1) tangle with East Nicolaus (2-0), the team that knocked off Stone Ridge in the 2015 NorCal Bowl en route to capturing a state title with a 16-6 victory over Coronado.
Ripon, meanwhile, heads to Sonora — the reigning Division V champion in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Also, Manteca, Sierra and Weston Ranch look to wrap up their non-league schedules with undefeated records. East Union, which decisively won its season opener at Ceres last week, travels to Johansen. Lathrop is idle.
East Nicolaus (2-0) is ranked No. 1 in the North Section Division IV media poll and has won 13 straight. The Spartans lost star running back Donavan Switalski (2,926 yards, 36 touchdowns) to graduation but return enough talent to make another bid for a state title.
Senior quarterback Steven Brown (175 yards, TD passing; 200 yards, four TDs rushing) leads a balanced attack that also features running backs Nolan Goyet (268 yards, four TDs) and Wyatt McCollum (121 yards, two TDs rushing; 119 yards, TD receiving).
East Nicolaus outmatched Colusa, another highly-ranked NS Division IV team, 53-28 last week and opened with a 36-7 thumping of Fall River.
Ripon Christian’s stout defense is sure to be tested after two impressive efforts to start the season. The Knights started with a 15-3 win at Mountain House, but the inexperienced offense has struggled to gain traction. Sophomore running back Michael Kamps (170 yards rushing, three total TDs) has emerged as the Knights’ top weapon.
In other Week 2 contests:
Ripon (1-1) at
Ripon will get a good idea of where it stands in two of the next three weeks.
Up first are the impressive Wildcats, who downed longtime rival and Valley Oak League power Oakdale 27-13 in Week Zero before throttling Division I Lodi, 62-15.
Josh Harris, who spearheads the option offense, had a hand in four touchdowns, throwing for two of them. Five-foot-9, 225-pound middle linebacker Bradley Canepa anchors the defense.
Ripon has dropped two straight to Sonora. After next week’s Thursday-night tilt at Grace Davis, the Indians venture off to Sutter, a tradition-rich NS program that made the NorCal Division IV-A Bowl Game last season.
East Union (1-0) at
The Lancers have a chance to work out the kinks against a struggling Johansen team still looking to score its first points of the season.
East Union had a solid 2016 debut in its 40-7 stomping of Ceres but had six fumbles (two lost) and costly first-half penalties that prevented a shutout for the defense.
Johansen has stumbled out the gates with 27-0 and 54-0 road losses to Hughson and Delhi, respectively. The Vikings have won just two games since 2012.
Enochs (0-2) at
Coming off a statement win over Christian Brothers, Manteca has one final test before going into its bye week and challenging for the VOL championship.
Enochs lost 42-20 last week to Buhach Colony, which Manteca handled 37-13 in Week Zero. The Eagles, who return just two starters, gave up more than 300 rushing yards to the Thunder and couldn’t recover after trailing 29-6 in the first quarter.
Sierra (2-0) at
After winning its first two games by a grand total of five points, the Timberwolves wouldn’t mind a more one-sided victory at the Grape Bowl on Friday.
Lodi was stomped 62-15 in its season opener at Sonora and was plagued by four early turnovers while the Wildcats rallied for four touchdowns all in the first quarter.
Weston Ranch (2-0) at
Bear Creek (0-2)
The Cougars are rolling behind the backfield triumvirate of Bryant Bowen (181 yards, TD), Andrew Farley (105 yards, two TDs) and Cori Floyd (222 yards, two TDs). The defense has been as impressive, as it shut out rival Edison last week in a 20-0 win.
A win Friday would give them a 3-0 start for the second straight year.