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Outmanned Knights succumb to fatigue
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DENAIR — The Ripon Christian Knights did all they could to ruin the Denair Coyotes homecoming celebration, but a lackluster third period proved to be too much to overcome in a disheartening 34-27 non-league loss.

Ripon Christian came out focused in the opening period, scoring just over three minutes into the game, but the Coyotes would be going nowhere, answering with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns — including a 6-yd touchdown run from Dillon Souza with just 16 seconds remaining in the first half.

“That score did hurt our momentum,” Knights head coach John Vander Schaaf said. “But I think it was more of a result of us starting to wear down physically. We go out there with our 17 kids and that drive late was our first sign of fatigue.”

The late Denair touchdown tied things up at 20-20, giving both teams a fair opportunity to add another win in the win column with a solid second half of play. The Knights proved to be the squad unable to respond, stalling on each drive of the pivotal third period and failing to add any points to the scoreboard while Denair notched a late third quarter score.

“We went in at halftime and rested up and regrouped,” Vander Schaaf said. “Then came back out for that second half and played them pretty tough I thought. It really turns into a factor when you take into consideration how many guys we have.”

The Knights got a tremendous effort from Josiah Neeley who rushed for 100 yards on 12 carries, breaking out for a 50-yard touchdown in the game’s opening minutes. Quarterback Tyler Voogd put up a valiant effort, going 10-for-16 passing for just under 150 yards and two scores.

Isaac Norman hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter, while teammate Aaron Fay caught Voogd’s other touchdown strike, closing out Ripon Christian’s scoring with 6:37 remaining in the game.

The Knights (2-2) will look to get back in the win column when they make the trip south to take on Turlock Christian High in Week 5 action.

“We tell our kids the same thing every week,” Vander Schaaf said. “It’s a blessing to be able to come out there and play football. We went out there and yeah Denair beat us, but we played as hard as we could and we have nothing to be ashamed of.

“No we look forward to our next event which will be Friday against Turlock Christian.”
— Jagada Chambers