RIPON — Ripon Christian racked up nearly 400 yards in total offense, only to have two costly interceptions and the inability to finish its drives prove to be too much to overcome in 42-30 non-league loss to visiting Summerville on Friday.
“We needed to finish a couple of drives,” Knights coach Trey Ozenbaugh said. “We had opportunities to score. We thought we had a touchdown early and it turned out to be an interception.
“We knew we would need an emotional lift to stay in it. When you suit 17 kids it’s never an excuse, but we’re going to play iron-man football. When you come to Ripon Christian you play a lot. We are always going to do it the right way. Whatever we get, that’s what we’re playing with.”
After a scoreless first period, the Bears (3-0) erupted for 21 second-quarter points behind an interception and a key fourth-down conversion.
“We have much respect to these guys from Summerville,” Ozenbaugh said. “They are a good, hard, physical football team.
“I am extremely happy with the way our kids battled tonight. With a couple of those big plays we gave up we could have packed it in but they didn’t. I am never happy with defeat but I am happy with the way our kids fought. I like where we are going into Southern League play.
Ripon Christian (1-2) did tie the score at 7-7 in the second period after running back Max Steele took a short pass from Mark Ozenbaugh and rambled 45 yards to the 8-yard line. Three plays later Michael Kamps (14 carries, 45 yards, three touchdowns) bulled it in from the 1 for the game tying score.
The Knights scored three times in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run from Willem Hoekstra (nine carries, 90 yards), on a 4-yard pass from Ozenbaugh (19 of 36 passing, 242 yards, touchdown, two interceptions) to Kamps and on a 1-yard run by Kamps. Unfortunately for Ripon Christian, each one of those scores was in response to a Bears score so the Knights were unable to crawl out of their early hole.
Dillon Zuidervaart had six catches for 84 yards for Ripon Christian and Sean McGovern pulled in seven receptions for 73 yards.
“We have a lot of good pieces this year,” Mark Ozenbaugh said. “We have Sean McGovern out there at Z — he’s a sophomore for us — and he’s a weapon. We have Michael Kamps, of course, a returning junior.
“We have pieces to move up and down the field, both running the ball and passing the ball.”