Caleb McCusker’s 70-yard kickoff return Saturday helped lead the Ripon Chiefs past Modesto Rams.
The varsity squad defeated the Modesto in the Trans Valley Youth Football League contest played at Ripon High’s Stouffer Field, 28-13.
The Chiefs got strong defensive play from Cody Haines, Jacob Xavier, Matthew Ysit, Austin Escobar and Daelon Arriola. Drake Vizcarra ended an early drive with an interception.
Ahead 7-0, Ripon established the ground game to set up its next score, with McClusker breaking off several big runs and Cedric Roy also contributing with several 5-yard gains. Nick Price, who kept the drive alive with a quarterback keeper, connected with Jacob Duxbury on the scoring strike.
Adolfo Sanchez picked off a pass, returning the theft 35 yards and setting up Price’s 20-yard quarterback keeper for a score.
The Rams closed the gap to 20-12 before Price dashed any comeback hopes with his 50-yard touchdown run. Steven Crescini’s PAT kick provided the final margin.
Other defensive standout players for Ripon included Price, Andrew Wood, and Javier Hernandez.
Rams 14, Chiefs 8
Ripon suffered its first loss of the season.
But that’s not without a fight. Andrew Durrer came through with a quarterback sack early on and also made a nifty 10-yard grab of a pass thrown by Logan Orlando.
Orlando, Branden States, Dylan Sexton, Rhet Herrin, Zach Bailey, and Luis Candido, who was credited with making several big tackles, were among the defensive standouts for the Chiefs.
Candido’s 70-yard interception return accounted for the only scoring by the Chiefs.
Chiefs 6, Rams 0
In a defensive battle, Adam Wood recovered a fumble in the end zone in the second half for the game’s only score.
Philip D’Angelo secured the victory with an interception.
Wood and Derric Roy led the defense with multiple tackles in the first half. Caleb Delgado, Lili Mejia, and Tyler Escobar did likewise in the second half.
In addition, Escobar provided some hard hits, Jack McClellan made a backfield stop, and Roy came through with an interception.