The game plan was simple as it was transparent early on for the Ripon Christian High football team. The Knights made it clear they wanted to pound the rock.
Putting to use their size advantage up front against Stone Ridge Christian, Ripon Christian called running plays on 29 of its first 30 plays.
The strategy worked as RC running Michael Kamps went over the 100-yard mark by halftime and the No. 2 seed Ripon Christian scored the first 19 points of the game as it cruised to a 38-3 win over No. 3 Stone Ridge Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII semifinals on Friday night.
“We wanted to use our physicality to control the ball game,” said Ripon Christian coach Trey Ozenbaugh, whose team improved to 7-4.
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Ripon Christian will face top-seed Rio Vista on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the championship game at Lincoln High in Stockton.
Kamps finished with 143 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Ripon Christian rushed for 255 yards as a team with Max Steele adding 74 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
“That’s always our goal as a team is to ground and pound,” Kamps said. “I have to give credit to our offensive line. They opened holes all night.”
The game ended ugly as the teams had to be separated after shaking hands after the game.
A Ripon Christian coach made a comment to a Stone Ridge player after the game that led to words being exchanged from both sides.
Ripon Christian didn’t like that Stone Ridge Christian was whistled for six personal fouls.
Some Stone Ridge coaches weren’t happy that Ripon Christian threw a touchdown with a 30-point lead with less than 2 minutes left in the game.
Ozenbaugh and Stone Ridge Christian coach Mark Gutierrez spoke after the game and calmed down their respective teams. Even after the incident, the two teams still met at midfield and prayed together after the game.
“I love playing Stone Ridge Christian. It’s a fun rivalry,” Ozenbaugh said. “These communities know each other well. There are family connections. We need to play with more Christian brotherhood on both sides.”
Stone Ridge Christian’s only two losses this season came to Ripon Christian
“I think what happened after the game was just a microcosm of what happened during the game,” Gutierrez said. “I think the teams are so close that we bring out the worst in them and they bring out the worst in us. I saw their players do things I haven’t seen them do before like talking to us and taunting. I also saw our players do thing I haven’t seen us do before. Emotions ran high and they were able to control their emotions a little better than we did.”
Stone Ridge Christian (10-2) was called for 16 penalties, which resulted in 145 penalty yards.
Ripon Christian took control of the game early as Kamps broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run on RC’s first possession.
Stone Ridge Christian then fumbled a handoff exchange between quarterback Bryce Louters and running back Shane Casillas and RC’s Kyle Rivera pounced on the ball at the SRC 2-yard line.
Steele scored one play later to extend the Ripon Christian lead to 13-0 with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Stone Ridge Christian’s offense struggled to move the ball on the ground. Casillas was held to just 16 yards on 10 carries.
“We hoped to change it up and spread our offense out and get the passing game going,” Casillas said. “Hopefully that would open up the running game. They just have a solid defense. They have a big defensive line and solid linebackers.”
Stone Ridge Christian was able to hit some big plays with the passing game, but it wasn’t able to move the ball consistently. Louters completed just 10 of 24 passes for 164 yards and two interceptions. Louters did make a 23-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 19-3 in the second quarter.
“They are just a matchup problem with us,” Gutierrez said. “I felt our only advantage with them, that we had consistently, was outside, and that’s not our strength.”
Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs
Ripon Christian 38, Stone Ridge Christian 3
Stone Ridge Christian
RC – Michael Kamps 49 run (Andrew Vander Weide kick)
RC – Max Steele 2 run (kick failed)
RC – Kamps 4 run (run failed)
SRC – Bryce Louters 23 FG
RC – Kamps 9 run (Vander Weide kick)
RC – Sean McGovern 6 run (kick failed)
RC – Dominic Darretta 30 pass from Mark Ozenbaugh (kick failed)