RIPON — Now in his third season at the varsity level, Ripon High quarterback Ryan Daggett defines pressure differently.
While many of his teammates point to the challenges of winning a football game, Daggett, the Indians’ ultimate weapon, talks about playing for a community.
“There is a little bit of pressure, but I'm kind of used to it after the third year,” said Daggett, the FrontRowPreps.com small-school Athlete of the Week after engineering a 24-21 victory over Calaveras last week. “I know a lot of people here and it’s nice to have them at the games.”
Daggett put on quite a show.
A dual-threat quarterback with track speed, Daggett showcased his accuracy and arm in the final non-conference game of the season. He was 10 of 15 for a season-high 176 yards and two touchdowns. He hooked up with Nico Ilardi on a 11-yard scoring strike and then a 26-yard toss to Dorian Dougherty.
The Indians rocketed out to 24-14 lead at the intermission en route to their fourth consecutive victory over Calaveras, a Mother Lode League title contender. The two teams met in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs last fall with Ripon escaping with a stunning upset.
“It was the first game we actually had to throw because it was a lot closer than we were used to,” Daggett said. In the first three games of the season, Ripon outscored the opposition 110-7. “Also, they tried to man us up, and I’m going to take our athletes over any other team’s athletes.”
Ripon is off to its best start in five years. The Indians are 4-0 and No. 3 in the FrontRowPreps.com small-school poll, and they take aim at top-ranked Hilmar in Friday’s Trans-Valley League opener. Ripon is looking for its first 5-0 start since the 2013 season when it began 7-0 and won 11 total games.
Daggett, a rare third-year starter, is a major reason for the success. He is 23 of 47 for 421 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing with 390 yards, two 100-yard games and six touchdowns. In 67 total chances (pass attempts plus rushes), Daggett has just one turnover.
“I’ve really worked on my skills as a quarterback in the offseason,” he said. “I’ve got a lot good athletes surrounding me and a great line protecting for me. I’ve barely been touched all season. I’m running the ball more and opening up the offense.”
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