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The Knight is young
Ripon Christian rode explosive sophomore to new heights

Offensive Player of the Year

Dan Vos, Ripon Christian junior: The centerpiece of RC’s high-octane offense missed a game (whiplash) but still led area passers with 1,800 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Vos also kept defenses with his running ability, rushing 80 times for 477 yards and six scores. In addition, he handled placekicking duties, converting 38 PATs and a field goal.

Defensive Player of the Year

Joe Trout, Manteca senior: The leader of the area’s top defense produced 61 tackles (seven for losses), four sacks, three forced fumbles, two recovered and an interception returned 66 yards for a touchdown. Also a fullback (336 yards, two rushing TDs) on offense, few in the area played as hard as this 6-1, 200-pound stalwart.

Lineman of the Year

Billy Sharmoug, Manteca sophomore: The 5-foot-10, 250-pound guard was the only offensive lineman who was not a senior voted onto the all-VOL first team. Part-time defensive lineman had 18 tackles, six for losses and a forced fumble. Sharmoug was also named the top lineman at a football camp held at the University of Oregon over the summer.

Multi-purpose Players of the Year

Danny Gouveia, Manteca senior: One of two VOL players to be selected to both the all-conference offensive and defensive first teams.  Manteca’s leading rusher (697 yards, seven TDs) was a playmaker in the defensive backfield (49 tackles, four forced fumbles, eight tackles for losses) and leading punt returner. He even filled in admirably at punter over Manteca’s final two games, averaging 41 yards on five kicks.

Jake McCreath, Ripon senior: The TVL’s Most Outstanding Receiver caught 36 passes for 565 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-4, 210 pounder also wreaked havoc as a defensive end, coming up with 29 tackles and a team-high five sacks while earning all-league defense honors. The Indians found other ways to make use of their top athlete, as he rushed 27 times for 178 yards and averaged 33.6 yards on kickoff returns.



Joe Menzel, East Union sophomore: Set single-season marks in passing yards (1,946) and touchdown completions (15) despite missing EU’s Week-9 contest with an illness.

Running backs

Josh McCreath, Ripon junior: Punishing runner grinded out 1,178 yards (6.0 per carry) and seven touchdowns.

Anthony Baccioco, Ripon junior: The shifty Baccioco scampered for 1,021 yards (7.0 per carry) and five scores.


Eric Ceja, Manteca senior: Outstanding route runner with great hands, Ceja finished with 40 receptions, 732 yards and seven touchdowns.

Zach Penirian, Sierra senior: Area leader with 927 receiving yards caught 55 passes, eight for touchdowns, and was dangerous as a deep threat.

T.J. Williams, East Union senior:
An impressive athlete at 6-2, Williams snared an area-best 14 touchdowns to go with 848 yards on 55 receptions.


Daniel Clemons, Manteca junior: All-VOL first-team center called the shots for a physical line that included two talented sophomores.

Jared Goslinga, Ripon Christian senior: Large (6-5, 265) and athletic guard anchored the best O-line in RC’s program history.

Conner Jones, Ripon senior: Left tackle helped open up holes for two 1,000-yard rushers and was an all-TVL first-team selection.

Nick Ramirez, Weston Ranch senior: At 6-1, 305 pound Ramirez was key to the Ranch’s inside running game at center.

Bret Wilson, Sierra senior: Undersized at 6-0, 200 pounds, Wilson was hardly overmatched as he provided some push with regularity.


Matt Kuhnlenz, Manteca junior: An all-league selection at tight end, Kuhnlenz was also instrumental on special teams (36 PATs, two FGs).



J.T. Agbulos, Manteca senior: Standout two-way lineman was among Manteca’s leaders in quarterback sacks with four.

Anton den Dulk, Ripon Christian senior: One of the area’s top two-way linemen, den Dulk produced 45 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Zach Menasco, Manteca senior: The Buff’s only every-down defensive lineman had 40 tackles, five four losses and two for sacks.


Austin Acker, Sierra senior: With 100 tackles and 2.5 sacks, he was the most consistent performer on a defense decimated by injuries.

T.J. Flores, Ripon senior:
Gritty two-year standout paced the Indians with 102 tackles, three forced fumbles and two recovered.

Zak Lewallen, East Union senior: Topped area players with 107 tackles and had a team-high four sacks with three fumble recoveries.

Sal Pena, Manteca junior: Big-play defender came up with 60 tackles, 10 tackles for losses, 4 ½ sacks and two interceptions.

Eddie Smith, Manteca junior: Talented run stopper led Manteca with 92 tackles — 10 for losses — while collecting four sacks

Defensive backs

Tyler Clark, Sierra senior: Picked off four passes, defended five others and was second on the team with 68 tackles.

Cole Herrin, Ripon junior: Also a standout receiver (35-487-9), Herrin turned in 42 tackles and three interceptions on defense.

Anthony Lopez, Manteca junior: Led Manteca with 43 solo tackles while intercepting two passes and recovering three fumbles.


Guillermo Nunez, Sierra junior: A key player in the defensive backfield, he was also named the VOL’s Most Outstanding Punter.


Cameron Harvey, Manteca senior: All-league first-team outside linebacker led the area with 5.5 sacks while contributing 508 yards and eight touchdowns rushing to the Buffaloes’ offensive backfield committee.

James Vander Schaaf, Ripon Christian senior: Middle linebacker finished with 83 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four forced fumbles and was pivotal to the offense’s ground game at fullback. He shined in one start at QB, completing six of 10 for 131 yards and a TD while rushing for 85 yards and two scores.

Willie Cervantes, Weston Ranch senior: Not your prototypical utility player at 5-11, 245 pounds, the offensive tackle/defensive lineman also saw time at fullback to add a new wrinkle to the Cougars’ physical running game. He even kicked PATs on a part-time basis.

— Jonamar Jacinto

The numbers are staggering:

•210 rushes, 1,718 yards (8.2 per carry), 28 touchdowns — all new single-season school records.

•34 receptions, 566 yards, six touchdowns — all team-highs.

•18 kickoff returns, 672 yards (37.3 per attempt), two touchdowns.

•Five interceptions, two returned for scores.

•Forty all-purpose touchdowns.

All this coming from a 5-foot-10, 175-pound sophomore who admits his size is exaggerated on the official team roster.

By the way, his 248 points top all other sophomores in California.

Meet Ripon Christian’s Andrew Brown, the Manteca Bulletin’s pick for the 2011 All-Area Football MVP award.

The running back/cornerback was on no one’s radar to start the year, but the Ripon Christian coaching staff knew it was on to something. It was a calculated risk moving him up to the varsity team and it paid off.

“I was told that if I try my hardest I can do some great things,” Brown said. “So I tried my hardest and some cool stuff happened.”

Jeremy Byrd told him that. You may remember the name. He followed Ted King as the fledgling program’s head coach and held the position for two years, guiding the Knights to their first-ever postseason appearance in 2005.

Byrd is now an athletic trainer who was welcomed back to the staff by fifth-year head coach Jon Vander Schaaf to serve as wide receiver coach. He is one of many who helped mold Brown into a dynamic football player.

Brown will be the first to tell you that the offensive line — led by brutes such as 6-5, 265-pound Jordan Goslinga and 6-1, 230-pound Anton den Dulk — and quarterback Danny Vos are more responsible for his and the team’s breakout season.

He will also tell you he is the beneficiary of a creative offensive scheme contrived by former Stanford quarterback Randy Fasani, who prepped at Del Oro of Loomis.

“It was the perfect storm,” Brown said. “Everything fell into place.”

The usually-outspoken Brown speaks humbly of his own personal success, but he deserves credit, too.

Two special teams plays in particular were proof his athletic prowess and cerebral approach to the game. One just so happens to be his first play as a varsity player, and the other was his last special-teams return of the season.

At the start of Ripon Christian’s zero-week opener against Big Valley Christian, a communication breakdown led to a brief scare as the ball bounced between Brown and a teammate on the opening kickoff.

“I thought, ‘What a nice way to start the season,’” Brown said.

Brown picked it up at the 10-yard-line and sprinted through a gap up the middle for a 90-yard touchdown.

He didn’t slow down since.

In the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinals, which followed RC’s first playoff win in school history, Brown sparked the Knights with a thrilling 97-yard kickoff return to begin the second half. Eventual section champ Bradshaw Christian appeared to be well on its way to an easy win at halftime well ahead, 33-12.  Brown scored three times over the final two quarters to give the underdogs hope.

It was Brown’s only return of the game. Bradshaw had otherwise avoided chasing him around by kicking off to other areas of the field, even attempting a few onside plays and pooch kicks.

Brown came up with a solution on the fly.

“When they kicked it deep they’d kick it to Brandon Dotinga’s side,” Brown said. “So I told him as soon as the kicker puts his head down let’s switch sides.

“Doing that was fun, and I figured that if we’re going to make a comeback we’re going to have fun.”

He has two more years to have fun at Ripon Christian, although he was less-than jovial after the loss at Bradshaw Christian.

“(Byrd) told me to take a three-week break, but I was like, ‘No, I want to go back to work on Monday,’” Brown said. “My whole mindset changed after that game. I’m so hungry for next year. I’m ready right now.”

It turns out he already was.