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'A dream come true': Former Ripon star Jake Marshall takes the reins of Red Hawks football program

'A dream come true': Former Ripon star Jake Marshall takes the reigns of Red Hawks football program
Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 18:29:14-04

RIPON — It’s a new era for the Ripon Red Hawks college football team.

Former team captain and 2010 grad, Jake Marshall takes over for legendary coach Ron Ernst. The school is also set to open their brand new stadium in two weeks.

You can feel the excitement throughout the program.

“If you have someone that actually cares for you and they give everything that they have to you, it makes it way easier to give everything that you have for them,” said junior linebacker Clay Ritschard.

Safe to say when it was announced Marshall would be taking over the program two winters ago, the players were excited.

“Love him to death,” said junior running back Connor Ramage. “When I got here it felt like home, so I was like alright this is where I need to be and him as head coach, I mean it just felt the same way – feels like almost like a dad to me. It's pretty nice to have”

For Marshall, it was about taking over a team that has given so much to him as a player and as an assistant coach since 2016. 

“For me it was always about coming back here and and being able to lead the program that gave so much to me and then be able to kind of do the same thing hopefully for the guys we have now,” Marshall said. “It was really definitely a dream come true and it's been everything (I’ve) hoped for.”

Playing for and coaching with Ron Ernst who retired last year, Marshall knows he has big shoes to fill. 

“it's nerve-racking cause of his big shoes to fill,” Marshall said. “I think he left the program in a good position and it makes my job a little bit easier knowing we don't have to make whole field changes.”

Since taking over the program who are now 1-1 this season, the new head coach implemented the red standard. Relentless Effort and Discipline.

“If you have those three skills, I think you got a chance to be successful in whatever you do you,” the head coach said. “Life has ups and downs and you got to be able to weather the storm and and so that's what our goal is. I think if we can develop a great culture and have great young men in our program we're going to have success.”

Last year, the program won their first Midwest Conference crown since 2001, now that’s the standard for the Red Hawks.

“It's a little extra motivation coming in every day and trying to get back to that peak, but I think for us it's about focusing on today and trying to do the right things and hopefully we can add those things up to have a good season.”

The Red Hawks play at Ingalls field one last time on Saturday as they host Illinois College who are also 1-1 on the year.