Ripon junior defensive back Danny Hernandez didn’t want a repeat of what happened against Modesto Christian last month.
In the Indians’ 26-22 win over the Crusaders, Hernandez appeared headed for a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown but was stopped short of the goal line.
On Friday against Mountain House, Hernandez got his redemption as he returned a pick 93 yards for a score in the Indians’ 49-20 win over the Mustangs (10-2) in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. V playoffs.
Ripon will host Bear River, which beat Center 28-13, next week in the semifinals.
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“I was eager for them to throw my way,” Hernandez said. “I finally jumped the route and Nico Ilardi gave me a good block.”
Hernandez picked off the Timothy Cantu pass and ran down the left sideline for the touchdown.
“Last week, I got stopped on a pick-six and tonight I wasn’t going to be stopped,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez, who also plays running back, wasn’t slowed either on two of his first three carries in the first quarter as he scored on runs of 30 and 17 yards.
“The kid is a special talent,” Indians coach Chris Musseman said. “We are really loaded in the backfield so if you look at our stats, no one has huge stats but we have seven kids that are carrying the ball each week.”
Hernandez finished with five carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.
After their bye during the regular season, the Indians were blown out by Escalon 38-7 on Oct. 12. After earning the No. 2 seed in Div. V, the Indians didn’t play last week.
Coaches and players emphasized during the week that they couldn’t come out flat again and Hernandez said they had “their best week of practice all year.”
It showed on Friday as Ripon (10-1) dominated, leading 21-0 after the first quarter and 42-6 at halftime.
“Absolutely we talked about it (the bye week) as coaches and as a team about what happened the last time we came off of a bye,” Musseman said. “There was a concern with how we would start tonight but our kids did a great job responding well and took care of business.”
Indians senior running back Derric Roy had two rushing touchdowns and senior Roland Davis recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. Davis also had six carries for 122 yards.
Mountain House had two defensive touchdowns in the second half and Musseman was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“It was ugly,” he said. “We came out flat. It’s hard when you go up in a playoff game like that. We have been preparing all week. Hey, a 10-1 team coming in, we just beat them in the first half and the kids had a little bit of a letdown.”
Mountain House senior Keemani Maggard was the one of the only bright spots for the Mustangs as he had a 66-yard touchdown reception in the first half and forced and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Even though he had his best offensive output of the season on Friday, Hernandez said he is more focused on the team’s success than his individual fame.
“I really don’t care about touchdowns,” Hernandez said. “I would like more to block for my teammates than score touchdowns.”