STOCKTON – Building on the most successful season in school history is the plan.
Carrying out the plan starts during the summer for Ripon Christian, and the Knights are laying the foundation for that plan competing in the Stagg High football full-contact camp this week.
The Knights are joining the varsity and sophomore squads from host Stagg, Chavez of Stockton, Weston Ranch and Sierra highs. Ripon Christian made tremendous strides a season ago, putting up 40 points against eventual section champion Bradshaw Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinal.
“We try and build from right there,” Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaaf said. “We have some pretty good returners with Danny Vos and Andrew Brown and we’re really high on those kids and how well they can play. We’re working to get the kids surrounding them better.
“One or two guys do not make a team, it takes an entire group effort.”
The Knights have been working out throughout the summer, competing against Gregori in a 7-on-7 style scrimmage before mixing it up with the programs in the Stagg camp. Ripon Christian more than held their own in the game-style scrimmages, scoring with efficiency. Yet, scoring points has nothing to do with what concerns the Knights’ coaching staff most.
“In the summer we are looking at each individual kid and trying to make them as good of a player as we can” Vander Schaff said. “When we have the numbers we do, we take what we can get and we try an accentuate our strengths and try and cover up our weaknesses.
“Our main focus is on the kids all summer long.”
The Knights made a slight adjustment to their schedule, adding similar small-school program Jim Elliot Christian of Lodi as the season opener. The Knights will tackle Jim Elliot, before meeting Ripon and closing the non-league schedule with a match up with Big Valley Christian.
“We took Linden off our schedule and Jim Elliot made for a pretty good fit,” Vander Schaff said. “They’re about the same size as us and they are a little Christian school, so we thought that would make a nice rivalry. And we’re always going to try and keep Ripon on there.
“They’re our next door neighbor and it’s always just a fun game.”