The Ripon Knights varsity held the Merced Gauchos scoreless through three quarters Saturday and earned a berth in the Trans-Valley Youth Football League Super Bowl with a resounding 42-6 win over the Gauchos.
Marcello Longstreth scored for the Knights on runs of 13 and 20 yards and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Trey Longstreth. Isaac Killingbeck added touchdown runs of 15 and 76 yards and Max Steele returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.
The Ripon offensive line of Evan Nunes, Drew Van Vliet, Mikey Gunning, Reagan Kelley and Gregory Ricketts dominated Merced to allow the ground game of Marcello Longstreth, Killingbeck, Kyle Jacklich and Nick Creighton to flourish.
Max Steele, Michael Kamps, Trey Longstreth and Jacklich were dominant as receivers.
Noel Gutierrez, Keith Gagnon, Cade Alger, Ethan Cormier, Jacklich, Evan Nunes, Creighton, Marcello Longstreth, Trey Longstreth, Steele, Kamps and Kelley led the Knights defense that totaled eight sacks.
Ripon (11-0) be taking on the 11-1 Central Saints in a rematch of their historical game in Week 4 in which the Knights defeated the Saints 22-20 ending Central’s 40 game win streak. The game will be played Sunday at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds with kickoff scheduled for 10 a.m.
Merced Gauchos 13, Knights 6
The Gauchos took a 13-0 lead in the second quarter and held that the rest of the way.
Late in the first half Sean McGovern reeled off a 50-yard touchdown to get the Knights on the board but despite strong running by McGovern and great catches by Wyatt Van Vliet in the second half Ripon could not muster any points in the second half.
“Our players have had a tremendous year,” Knights coach Pat McGovern said. “Each week they continued to get better individually and as a team. The players on our Knights JV are a special group and this will be a season I remember always.”
The Ripon Knights junior varsity and varsity squads placed third out of eight teams in the JAMZ and TVYFL competition, which took place at Stanislaus State. The Knights teams scored more than 80 percent to qualify for the Nationals in Las Vegas in January. The novice also qualified for the Nationals.