RIPON — Ripon High has instilled a great formula for success in its team. The Indians have done it each week, eight times, and the once-beaten Hilmar Yellowjackets were the most recent victim. The Indians simply score more than their opponent, and Friday’s 42-7 Trans Valley League victory was no different.
The Indians (4-0, 8-0 overall) never trailed in the contest, getting a 95-yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown from junior Michael Ysit and never looking back. Hilmar scored on its second possession to tie it up 7-7 and Ripon would reel off 35 unanswered points.
“We played a great team game tonight,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “Offense, defense, special teams with returning that opening kickoff for a touchdown is huge. This is just a good team win for us all the way around.”
Ripon broke the game open with the game open with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Wengel to Michael Morris to make it 28-7 halfway through the third quarter. Three plays later Cole Herren picked off a Hilmar pass at midfield and the rout was on.
Wengel completed 17-of-24 passes for 216 yards and three scored. Wengel set the Indians offense on cruise control, consistently picking through the Hilmar defensive unit with seven to 10 yard completions with the occasional downfield connection.
“We just wanted to come out and do what we’ve been doing and that’s play Ripon football,” Wengel said. “They took away our deep ball so we had to just chipped it down the field. “
Wengal completed passes to five different receivers with Bradley Clark closing as his primary target with six receptions for 108 yards and two scores. Clark’s most impressive catch came with just :03 remaining in the first half when he hauled in a Wengal pass just inside of the back-right end zone pylon for a Ripon touchdown.
Clark also broke a tackle and turned a quick slant into a 55-yard score to open the fourth quarter, cuing the running clock. The Indians also got two touchdowns from Josh McCreath to go along with Clark’s pair. Morris, Anthony Baciocco and Cole Herrin all made key receptions for an Indian offensive unit reaping the benefits of the Indians defensive showing.
Ripon held Hilmar to its lowest scoring total of the season, bottling up an offense that has had a great deal of success this season and season’s past. Hilmar was held to 130 yards of total offense, completing just two passes for negative yardage.
“We had all the hype, we had a great game plan coming in and we were all excited and now we’re just disappointed,” Hilmar quarterback Tyler Freitas said. “They are a great team. I hope we can see them again in the playoffs. Hopefully we can have a different game plan like our coach said.
“He (head coach Frank Marques) said our game plan wasn’t good enough, I don’t think we played hard enough to be honest.”