High School Football

Lopez’s look back, look ahead: Oakdale finding groove; Ripon grounds one out

Ripon running back Roland Davis sprints upfield during a game between Ripon and Hilmar at Ripon High School in Ripon CA on September 14, 2018.
Ripon running back Roland Davis sprints upfield during a game between Ripon and Hilmar at Ripon High School in Ripon CA on September 14, 2018. jwestberg@modbee.com

After a 35-26 win at East Union on Friday, Oakdale has won three games in a row and are 4-1.

“It’s a process,” Mustangs coach Trent Merzon said Saturday morning. “We are learning and growing and winning VOL games on the road is tough.”

Senior Max Moore had 30 carries for 180 yards and three touchdowns in the win and has 320 rushing yards and five touchdowns in his last two games.

“Max is doing a good job,” Merzon said. “He is an important part of what we do with a lot of buck sweep and trap run plays.”

The Mustangs ran the ball well considering they had two guards who got hurt on Wednesday and had to be replaced on short notice.

Oakdale only led by one point at intermission but took control in the second half.

“We play a lot of bodies and it wears people down,” Merzon said.

The Mustangs, No. 5 in the Bee’s latest large-school rankings, host Weston Ranch next week.

Ripon’s offense uses running game to beat Hilmar

The Indians’ offensive scheme wasn’t complex in their 23-21 win over Hilmar.

Ripon ran the ball 46 times on Friday with most of the running plays being jet sweeps to senior Roland Davis and junior Danny Hernandez.

“That’s our No. 1 base starting play so our kids know how to block it really well and we have good athletes on this team,” Indians coach Chris Musseman said. “We can run outside pretty well.”

Davis had a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter on a jet sweep and Hernandez had eight carries for 61 yards. The Indians as a team ran for 226 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

The success in the ground game led to Ripon’s second touchdown. On a third-and-long, senior quarterback Ryan Daggett motioned for a running back to come across and after the snap, Daggett faked the handoff and found junior wide receiver Nico Ilardi wide open for a 30 yard touchdown.

“It was a dogfight till the end,” Daggett said. “We knew we were going to have to come out and play hard and we came out on top over a good team.”

Ripon moved up to No. 2 in the Bee’s medium-school rankings while Hilmar dropped from No. 1 to No. 3.

Ripon hosts Riverbank next week while Hilmar is at Escalon.

Changes to Rankings

There wasn’t a lot of movement in my rankings this week but there were a couple of notable changes:

  • Oakdale moves into the the top five in the large-school rankings while Modesto dropped out despite beating Franklin. I believe the Central California Athletic League is stronger than the Valley Oak League so the Panthers will have more opportunities to prove themselves once league play starts in two weeks.
  • Modesto Christian is the new No. 1 in the medium-school rankings after Hilmar’s loss to Ripon. Ripon is No. 2 and I give the slight edge to the Crusaders due to their defense, which has played lights out this year.
  • Like their neighbors, Ripon Christian also got a big win on Friday with a 42-6 win over Waterford and the Knights were rewarded by being named the new No. 1 team in the small-school rankings.

Tough debut for Modesto schools in WAC

There was a lot of optimism for Beyer, Davis, and Johansen as they began their first year in the Western Athletic Conference.

It was a tough first week of league season for the three teams as they all combined to lose 125-27.

Watch highlights of Central Catholic's 35-28 win over Manteca in the teams' Valley Oak League opener on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

Ripon opened Trans Valley League play with a 23-21 win over Hilmar on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at Ripon High School.

Ripon High coach Chris Musseman talks about his team's big win over Hilmar on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

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