WHAT: SJS Division IV playoffs
WHO: (3) Ripon vs. (14) Amador
WHERE: Stouffer Field
WHEN: Today, 7 p.m.
ADMISSION: $10 adults, $7 seniors/students, Free for kids 5-under
For Ripon High, a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff home game is right where it thought it would be.
In Amador’s case, things are a little different. They stumble into the postseason on back-to-back losses and won’t get any sympathy from the No. 3 seed.
Amador will make the 60-mile trek to Ripon High Friday for the two school’s SJS Division-IV Football Championships. The Buffaloes (7-3) lost to Summerville (14-7) and Argonaut (14-13) to finish the Mother Lode League schedule, but the one-point loss to an undefeated, No. 2 seed Argonaut squad likely reveals most about Argonaut’s makeup.
“They have the sixth-ranked scoring defense in the state of California,” Ripon High head coach Chris Johnson said. “They’re only giving up 10 points a game. When you look at what they’ve done and the games they’ve lost, they have all been close.
“This is a good football team coming down.”
Amador and Ripon hold common opponents in both Bret Harte and Linden, with both teams earning wins over the clubs. Ripon was able to do so in a more dominating fashion, holding Bret Harte scoreless and holding Linden to a score. In both games Ripon scored a combined total of 92 points. Amador only accumulated 44 points in the two wins, while blanking Bret Harte and beating Linden 27-14.
Defensively, Ripon has shined week in and week out, posting two shutouts on the season and only surrendering more than 20 points three times on the season. Setting the tone with physical play and ferocious tackling will likely be the foundation for any Ripon success.
“We just have to go right at them,” Johnson said. “We have to go out and execute and not make mistakes and just play our game. When we’re hitting on all cylinders we’re pretty good. But in high school football that is what it comes down to. Everybody is pretty good, both of these teams have some talented guys and you just can’t make any mistakes.”
Ripon will definitely reap the benefits of a week 10 bye, coming into the first round game on a two-week rest. Recuperating nagging injuries, offensive game planning and scouting the Buffaloes were areas that all got bonus attention during the off-week.
A season ago the Hilmar Yellowjackets took the Trans Valley League’s week 10 bye and made a run all the way to a section championship.
“I think our kids are excited,” Johnson said. “It was good to have the bye when we did at the end of the season. It gave us an opportunity to recharge our batteries and get healthy. It gave our kids an opportunity to mend some of the bumps and bruises.
“We talked about it tonight, this is the second season and everybody is 0-0.”