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Bruins Battered - Riverbank Falls To MC In Homecoming Contest
With two state championships from two different teams and three section titles from three different teams, Trans-Valley League football has been about as dominant as any small school conference in existence from 2009 to 2011.

For Riverbank High's 699 students and the 32 players participating on the varsity Bruin football team, it's been downright brutal.

Riverbank stayed competitive early in each of its first two TVL meetings, but were dispatched quickly and efficiently by 2009 state champions, Modesto Christian, during a 63-0 blowout loss in the Bruins' Homecoming game on Oct. 12.

At 2-5 overall, 0-3 in the TVL and rivals Ripon (8-0) Hughson (4-3) and Escalon (5-2) looming on the schedule, things won't get any easier for a Bruin squad that hasn't won a conference game since edging Ripon Christian 21-20 in 2007 (RC joined the Southern League in 2010).

"At this point we have got to play because we love the game," Riverbank coach James Oliver said. "We play for pride and hopefully we can dictate the course of the playoffs for the other teams."

The Bruins will be heavy underdogs on the road Friday, when they look to play the spoiler against an unbeaten Ripon team projected to take the No. 1 seed into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. Ripon was ranked No. 8 in the D-III NorCal bowl rankings as of Oct. 9 and will be a likely participant in the NorCal championships, should they stay unbeaten and win a section title.

"We are going to try and match up with them, game plan to put our kids in the best position possible," Oliver said. "We are going to show up and play, be prepared the best we can."

The Bruins hope to return injured quarterback Angel Torres to the starting lineup. Freddie Capas played admirably in his absence against Modesto Christian while Chad Oliver caught key passes and Anthony Gonzalez ran the ball well. Fabian Arana stood out for a Bruin defense that lost standout linebacker Luis Solorio to injury.

Riverbank started the game with the ball, the Hebert family on hand for the ceremonial coin toss, in honor of the late Ron Hebert, lost last year to cancer. He had been a longtime Bruin coach and supporter. The Bruins kept the ball for several minutes and made headway down the field on their first possession and held Modesto Christian to a three and out on the first Crusaders' time with the ball. But after the first touchdown, the visiting MC squad kept the pressure on and ran away with the game.