GREELEY — Brock Ricks might have been the busiest player on the field Friday night at District 6 Stadium. But the junior’s extra effort proved to be key for Silver Creek football.
In less time than it takes to strap up his football pads, Ricks swung the momentum of one of Silver Creek’s weightiest games of the year. On back-to-back plays, he produced the biggest defensive and offensive plays of the evening. In turn Ricks helped the third-ranked Raptors to a 28-16 win over No. 6 Northridge in the Tri Valley League opener for both teams.
But coming up with touchdowns off a long reception and then an interception mattered little to Ricks. It was what each of the athletic scores added up to in the scheme of Silver Creek’s season that had the Raptors star flying high.
The win went a long way a long way in delivering a conference championship despite having four games left to play.
“Yes it did,” Ricks said.
Ricks got the ball rolling, swinging a 7-7 stalemate Silver Creek’s way late in the second quarter. The receiver made the third of his five receptions on a 20-yard out-and-up pattern to the back of the end zone. But it was when Ricks took the field again that he really stung Northridge (5-1, 0-1).
His 52-yard interception return on the first play of the Grizzlies’ next series gave Silver Creek (6-0, 1-0) a commanding 21-7 lead in the blink of an eye.
“This was the first time I’ve played defense, since we had a player out,” Ricks said. “So, it was just a big play. I was glad I could make it.”
Silver Creek’s offense did plenty of damage, finishing the evening with 297 total yards. But Ben Sjobakken was the first to give credit for the win to the Raptors’ defense. The Silver Creek quarterback pointed to his defense’s two sacks and two interceptions as being key in slowing down Northridge’s no-huddle offense.
“They’ve have done an amazing job this year,” Sjobakken said. “They’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.”
Even with the Raptors putting pressure on Northridge the best the team could do was slow down the Grizzlies. Robert Fulton was a threat on every snap with the quarterback completing 21 of 43 attempts for 243 yards. But it was not the Grizzlies’ vaunted tight end Michael Graff who ended up being his main target.
Silver Creek held Graff to just 30 yards, while Northridge wide out Blake Karlin hauled in seven passes for 83 yards.
Northridge’s dynamic passing game was trouble until the very end, but Sjobakken took a ton of pressure off his defense out of halftime. On Silver Creek’s first possession in the third, the quarterback marched his team 78 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive with a 26-yard touchdown.
“That was the most important series of the game,” said the quarterback, who finished with 112 passing yards. “We got all the momentum back, then started the half off right and gave a cushion for our D.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
SILVER CREEK 28, NORTHRIDGE 16
Silver Creek (6-0, 1-0) 7 14 7 0 — 28
Northridge (5-1, 0-1) 0 10 0 6 — 16
Silver Creek — Josh Quiroz 1 run (Ryan Charles kick).
Northridge — Cody Cook 3 run (Seth Czapenski kick).
Silver Creek — Brock Ricks 20 pass from Ben Sjobakken (Charles kick).
Silver Creek — Ricks 52 interception return (Charles kick).
Northridge — Czapenski 27 field goal.
Silver Creek –Trey Fleming 26 pass from Sjobakken (Charles kick).
Northridge — Tony Dennis-Lopez 3 run (pass failed).
First downs 16 19
Rushes-yards 45-185 21-47
Passing yards 112 243
Comp-Att-Int 12-17-0 21-43-2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-45 3-20
RUSHING — Silver Creek: Quiroz 34-153, Emberly 4-14, Sjobakken 1-4, Kent 5-20, Grine 1-(-6); Northridge: Cook 10-28, Fulton 6-4, Dennis-Lopez 3-9, Graff 1-(-5), Dreher 1-1.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Silver Creek: Sjobakken 12-17-0, 112 yards; Northridge: Fulton 21-43-2, 293 yards.
RECEIVING — Silver Creek: Fleming 5-52, Machmuller 1-7, Lindsey 1-7, Ricks 5-46; Northridge: Graff 4-30, Karlin 7-83, Frye 3-42, Cook 2-21, Marx 3-35, Dennis-Lopez.