SAN ANDREAS — For the first time this season, Ripon found out what it was like to have to play four quarters of football.
Even with two two-way starters sitting out for the final non-league game Friday, the Indians relied on the combination of a stingy defense and the bruising attack of Danny Hernandez to put together a 24-0 victory on the road at Calaveras.
It wasn’t the best game of Ripon’s season, said head coach Chris Musseman, but it did show that the Indians (4-0) can play a full game as they prepare to take on state champion Hilmar in the Trans Valley League opener next week.
“Tonight was definitely the first time we’ve had to play late into the game and it was good to see that we can do it,” Musseman said. “We needed to be pushed because we’re going to go out and win the game in the first two quarters against teams like Hilmar or Escalon.
“We didn’t execute well on offense tonight at all, but to be able to come out and put together four quarters with limited numbers was a good thing to see.”
The Indians scored only a single touchdown in the game’s first half — a 1-yard run by Danny Hernandez in the first quarter. With Nate Valdez’ 38-yard field goal in the second quarter, Ripon held a 10-0 lead heading into the half — a far cry from the running clocks that they saw during the first three weeks of the season.
Hernandez was instrumental in Ripon’s second-half success when he pulled in a 6-yard strike Nico Ilardi in the third quarter and broke free on a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring for the contest.
Hernandez finished with 10 carries for 109 yards and three total touchdowns, while Grant Wiebe carried the ball 14 times for 91 yards and also played a big role defensively for the Indians.
“Our defense as a whole played really well tonight,” Musseman said. “Offensively we couldn’t get it going, but guys like Grant Wiebe and Caleb Delgado played really well for us tonight and that countered the lack of offense for us in a game like this.”
BOYS WATER POLO
Pacheco 18, Lathrop 3
LATHROP — Tefolis Stevenson, Jermaine Buckley and Jose Avila were the goal scorers for Lathrop (0-2) in the Western Athletic Conference clash Thursday.
Pacheco’s Derek Rubio led all scorers with five goals.
Sierra 15, Lathrop 3
RIPON — Kenny Kuwada, Aaron Sandberg and Fabian Barba fired one goal each in the Timberwolves’ Valley Oak League opener at Ripon High.
GIRLS WATER POLO
Pacheco 22, Lathrop 3
LATHROP — Sarah Arriola, Maryjane Bergren and Makayla Ruiz netted one goal apiece as the Spartans dropped their second league game.
Central Catholic 8, Sierra 3
RIPON — Molly Fadeff scored every goal for Sierra (0-2).