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Curtice leads visiting Ripon with 4 TDs
Ripon running back and team captain Nick Curtice fights his way through the Ripon Christian defense. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – After a tough loss last week in one of the Trans Valley League’s marquee matchups, Ripon High knew it would have to show up and take care of business Friday night.

The 50-6 that shone brightly on the scoreboard at the end of the night showed that the Indians did just that.

In Friday’s matchup against Ripon Christian (1-2, 2-5 overall) – the fourth installment of the annual ‘Ripon Bowl’ which uniquely had the Knights hosting the Stouffer Field visitors sideline – it took the Indians only one series to shake the cobwebs and jumpstart an offense that would roll to nearly 500 total yards by the end of the night.

Senior running back and team captain Nick Curtice acted as the Ripon wrecking ball in the first half, when he rumbled to a pair of rushing touchdowns and 124 yards with only seven carries. He also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Gustin.

“We came into this game tonight wanting to win, showing that this is our field and our town and that we were going to take this game,” Curtice said. “We had a tough loss in a big game last week and we had to prove to ourselves and our town that we can do this.

“The offensive line blocked great tonight, and this is a great team win for everybody to enjoy.”

Curtice finished the night with 188 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Ripon’s cozy 28-0 lead at the half combined with Curtice’s touchdown to start the third quarter allowed the Indians to empty their sidelines and spread the ball around for the remainder of the game.

The Knights, who had started the game solidly with their offense but failed to find complete traction, were ultimately overcome by not only Ripon’s initial offensive attack but their depth at almost every position as well.

Ripon Christian’s lone score came from senior quarterback Tyler Voogd on a 1-yard run – a drive that was set-up by Issac Norman’s 52-yard breakaway.

“We knew coming out tonight that they were a good team and a well-coached team, and how good they are really showed,” Ripon Christian head coach John Vander Schaaf said. “Our kids showed a lot of character tonight and everyone was disappointment that we didn’t execute the way that we should to keep ourselves in this game.

“We had opportunities early and we broke down and with a team like Ripon in you don’t capitalize on something they’re going to take advantage of that.”

Reserve Ripon running back Sam Pryor also added a pair of touchdowns.

Friday’s win put the Indians (2-1, 6-2) one step closer to securing an automatic berth in Sac-Joaquin Division IV playoffs. A win on the road next week at Riverbank would ensure that Ripon was one of the three TVL automatic bids, as it heads into its final game against first-placed Escalon.

“We knew that after last week that this game was a must-win for us and we came out and made that happen tonight as a team,” Ripon head coach Chris Johnson said. “We knew that if we wanted a shot at the playoffs that we were going to have to go through Ripon Christian first.

“It was a close game last week but our kids played hard and they had a lot of confidence out there. I knew that it was going to be easy for them to get up for a rivalry game like this one.”