It was a matchup of opposites Friday night when Turlock Christian High hosted Ripon Christian High at McSweeney field in Hilmar. The Eagles entered the game with a Southern Athletic League record of 0-2 and a pass centered offense while the Knights arrived with a 2-0 in the SAL and a rush based attack.
RC opened the night with a surprise onside kick, catching TC off guard with a little trickery, but utilized a straight forward scheme for the rest of the game en route to a 42-6 victory.
“Terrible,” TC’s head coach Shane Smith said of the game. “The effort is not good. “
RC’s offense benefited early and often from good field position, aggressively driving the ball downfield with the help of quarterback Danny Vos and tailback Andrew Brown. Brown scored four touchdowns on the Knights’ first four possessions, the first via a seven yard scamper, the second and third on a 31 yard and 15 yard pass from Vos, respectively, and the fourth by way of a 19 yard counter up the middle.
TC trailed 28-0 by the second quarter.
“I don’t know if they really believe we can do anything,” Smith said of his team’s lack of confidence.
While the Eagle (0-3 SAL) defense failed to contain RC’s offense, TC’s offensive line found themselves being battered by a Knights (3-0 SAL) defensive line half their size. Because of the ground given up in the trenches quarterback Chase Gonzalez had a rough night in the pocket. Gonzalez was constantly hurried by the Knight line, resulting in both inaccurately thrown and dropped passes.
The Eagle offense finally got things going after a Malik Portillo interception gave them the ball on their own 25 yard line. Gonzalez hooked up with five different receivers on a 12 play drive that ended with a 6 yard Nick Steeley touchdown reception.
RC’s Brown punched in two more touchdowns before halftime, making it 42-6.
TC never fully recovered from the first half but did show flashes of improvement. The Eagles defense stepped up on RC’s first three possessions, forcing a punt a two fumbles, which they recovered, and nearly intercepted a couple passes. Offensively, Portillo made the most of his first start of the year. After missing all of last season due to surgery and half of this season due to transfer technicalities, Portillo recorded 64 second-half yards and provided his team with much needed enthusiasm and confidence.
“Although we didn’t have much blocking, he still did a really good job,” Smith said.
TC finished the night with 194 yards of total offense while RC racked up a total of 380 yards.
“I think we’re going to focus on continuing to do what we’re doing and getting our line better,” Smith said. “We just need to get more confident.”
TC faces Le Grand High next Friday.