The Ripon Christian Knights staged a fourth-quarter rally Friday to slip past Stone Ridge Christian, 35-28, in Merced.
Quarterback Travis Zuidervaart hit his favorite mark Jonah Lewis twice and the RC defense delivered with a fourth-and-goal stoppage.
The Knights (2-0) trailed at one point in this non-league affair, 21-0.
“Our conditioning was the key to the comeback,” RC coach Trey Ozenbaugh said.
The game was knotted up at 28-28 with Stone Ridge taking the ball to the RC 2 yard line with about 5 minutes left in the game.
Ozenbaugh credited his defensive coordinator Eddie Erdelatz for making the call on the Stone Ridge power sweep on fourth down. Willem Hoekstra came through with the tackle.
“That was the big play of the game,” said Ozenbaugh,
From there, RC drove 83 yards — a 15-yard penalty called on Stone Ridge following that fourth-down play gave the Knights some breathing room — with Lewis scoring the game-winner the final minute.
“This was a great team win.” said Ozenbaugh. “Our guys willed themselves to victory.”
Stone Ridge catapulted ahead early on thanks to a pair of touchdown run by Shane Castillas and another by Austin Rees.
RC stayed the course before finally prevailing.
Zuidervaart completed 10 of his 17 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns — all to Lewis, who hauled in five passes for 148 yards - and no interceptions.