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Hawks fall to SAL powerhouse Knights
Delhi pic1
Delhi quarterback Garret Thomas had to run for his life Friday night, escaping Ripon Christians Will Kamps on this play. - photo by MIKE JONES / The Journal

Due to a fire alongside Highway 99 that slowed traffic to a crawl, it took Ripon Christian High’s football team and its large contingent of fans an unusually long time to make the trek from Ripon to Delhi High School Friday night.

Once things got started though, it took the Knights virtually no time at all in jumping all over their game but overmatched hosts for three quick first-period touchdowns on the way to a lopsided 49-13 Southern Athletic League win over Delhi  (0-4 in league, 3-4 overall).

Led once again by its do-it-all breakaway threat Andrew Brown, who rushed for 232 yards and five TDs on 17 carries and scored a sixth time on a 12-yard pass from RC quarterback Billy Marr, the Knights turned Delhi’s field into their own personal playground in winning their fourth straight Southern League game.

The visitors are 6-1 overall and 4-0 and atop the SL with three games to go.

On the bright side for Delhi, senior running back/linebacker Reinaldo Medina ran hard inside for 82 yards before leaving late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He was filling in for injured starter Ricco McCombs and played well as did Oscar Heredia, who made an interception on defense and caught a 20-yard scoring pass from Hawks’ QB Garret Thomas.

Sergio Hernandez was a standout defensively for Delhi, making a team-best nine tackles while two-way players Joel Cantu and Francisco Rodriguez were involved in many plays on both sides of the ball.

“Let me tell you something: Ripon Christian has a lot of weapons and that Andrew Brown is something else,” said Delhi head coach Rod McCombs, who didn’t need to tell anyone who saw Brown run roughshod through an opposing defense once again Friday night.

The senior tailback, who came into the game needing 829 yards to break the all-time Stanislaus District rushing record of 5,140 set by former Central Catholic star Louis Bland, is now 597 yards away with three regular-season games remaining. Oh by the way, Brown’s sixth TD of Friday night’s game was the 101st of his illustrious career.

And the way things are going for head coach Randy Fasani’s multi-talented football team, there may be a couple more postseason games after that for Brown and Co.

“We are blessed to have No. 20 (Brown) on our football team,” said Fasani, the former Del Oro-Roseville QB who went on to play for Stanford and in the NFL.

“He’s a great talent but we are a multi-dimensional offense. We are going to be facing a lot of quality teams down the road that will be geared to stop him so we have to be.”

On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Fasani had junior signal-caller Billy Marr fake a handoff to Brown before firing a 69-yard scoring strike to Jonah Lewis, giving RC a 7-0 lead 59 seconds into the game.

Marr, who completed 9 of 11 passes for 179 yards, sparked RC through the air while Brown would score on runs of 1, 5, 65, 54 and five yards.

And in the end, he praised Delhi for battling to the end despite falling so far behind quickly.

“I’ve been playing against Delhi since I was in Pop Warner and that’s one thing about them,” Brown said, “They always play as hard as they can and they always play to the end of the game.”

McCombs appreciated the compliment and said he too was proud of the way his team hung tough despite being down 42-7 at the half.

“That’s all we can ask of our players, to play as hard as they can from beginning to end and I think we did that tonight, particularly in the second half.”