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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Grant Sonke, Ripon Christian football
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Grant Sonke

The Knights’ versatile 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore is establishing himself as the big-play threat in the fly offense. He played a key role in their thrilling 45-42 win over visiting Orestimba last Friday.

Sonke finished with 15 rushes for 160 yards and two touchdowns along with one catch for 24 yards, but it was his clutch plays in the kicking game that helped give Ripon Christian (1-0, 4-1 overall) the edge in this pivotal Southern Athletic League tussle.

And he did it while battling cramps.

Sonke hobbled back to the sideline after his 57-yard touchdown scamper with 4:49 left in the third quarter. That capped a 21-0 barrage that pushed RC ahead 35-28 after the Warriors (0-2, 2-3) held a two-score halftime lead.

“We have a reputation for coming out flat, but we don’t stop,” Sonke said. “As long as we stick to our basics, and we have a great line ahead of us making holes, we’ll be alright.”

He was instrumental in the comeback charge and in helping RC keep its late lead.

Sonke returned to action from the cramps in the fourth quarter. The Knights took a 42-35 lead when Trey Fasani hooked up with Thys Van Der Hoek for a 20-yard score with 9:59 remaining.

They immediately regained possession, as Sonke stunned Orestimba with a well-executed onside kick recovered by Dustin Hoekstra. Ripon Christian widened the gap thanks to Sonke’s 25-yard field goal, and in the final seconds his brother Alex made a big fourth-down tackle on the 12-yard line to secure the win.

Grant Sonke converted 4 of 5 PATs and had two tackles on defense. For the season, he’s the Knights’ leading rusher with 390 yards (8.0 per carry) and eight touchdowns as well as six receptions for 140 yards and one touchdown. Ripon Christian has another big game this Friday when undefeated Waterford visits.