It took five games, but for the first time this season, the Sutter High football team faced adversity.
Sutter coach Ryan Reynolds wanted his team to face a situation like this. These are the kind of games that pay dividends in November.
Friday night's homecoming festivities at Wayne Gadberry Field didn't start like most of the home crowd thought they would. After four consecutive games of Sutter jumping out to an early lead, Ripon had Sutter on its heels.
A 0-0 score after the first quarter wasn't something Sutter had faced all season.
"That first quarter was probably the worst we've played in five weeks," Reynolds said. "I kind of saw it as a good thing for us, though. We had to tighten up our bootstraps a little and figure this thing out.
"We needed that because we haven't had that so far this year."
Any thoughts of a tight contest went away in a matter of seconds in the second quarter.
Sutter rattled off 35 points in the second period and cruised from there as the Huskies moved to 5-0 with a 49-6 rout of Ripon.
The Huskies completed the nonleague portion of their schedule by outscoring their opponents 259-27.
They are on bye next week before opening Butte View League action against Oroville on Oct. 10 in Sutter.
While Sutter's main goal is winning the program's third consecutive BVL title and a Northern Section Division III championship, the Huskies are on target for an even bigger prize.
The Huskies are ranked No. 3 in the Northern California Division III state bowl rankings by Cal-Hi Sports and MaxPreps. If they continue to take care of business, the Huskies will likely be selected for a NorCal regional game like they were in 2012.
"I'm really happy with our first five weeks," Reynolds said. "I think it's a good momentum swing going into league play. We're going to continue working hard and getting better each week."
Sutter opened up the scoring with a little under 11 minutes left in the first half.
Randy Post found Ty Prince for a 16-yard touchdown pass, which was set up by Isaac Torres' 26-yard run.
The Huskies were up 6-0 when Ripon drove down to the Sutter 7-yard line. Ripon's 23-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, a moment Reynolds labeled as a huge momentum swing.
Sutter took over and went 81 yards for a touchdown.
Post found Elijah Dean for a 24-yard gain and Prince for 23 more before running back Alex Lopez scored on a highlight-reel 40-yard touchdown run. Lopez zigzagged his way from sideline-to-sideline, bouncing off defenders and using his blockers en route to paydirt.
After forcing a three-and-out from Ripon, Sutter's offense went back to work as Post found Brandon Jackson for a 44-yard gain. Tyler Chambers completed the two-play scoring drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0.
Lopez made it 28-0 with a 35-yard run on a nice draw play in which Post faked out the entire Ripon defense.
With 31 seconds remaining before halftime, the Sutter kickoff team forced a Ripon fumble. Post made the Indians pay for their error and found Jackson on a 9-yard fade to the back of the end zone.
"During the first quarter, (Ripon) blitzed the house and we were not ready mentally for that," Reynolds said. "In the second quarter, we made some adjustments on the sideline and figured out what they were giving us.
"Once we started getting our tempo up and our mojo going, we were playing Sutter football."
Torres scored on a 1-yard plunge to make it 42-0 in the third quarter and Ethan Rupert turned it into a laugher with a interception return for a touchdown to finish the scoring.
Ripon (1-4) scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to prevent the shutout.
Lopez finished his night with eight carries for 100 yards and two scores. Post completed 8 of 15 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
"We know we have some hard work ahead of us, and we just have to get better day by day and week by week," Reynolds said.
CONTACT Sports Editor Jimmy Graben at 749-4791