Jacks rip Mavs in finale

Ryan Sweeter

Ryan Sweeter

The SDSU football team as we have known it for the last four years is gone, but they left in style.

Josh Ranek ended his storied career at SDSU last Saturday with 272 yards rushing in a 35-0 blowout against the Minnesota State, Mankato Mavericks.

Ranek’s 272 yards on Saturday brings the grand total to 6,794, the second highest career total in Division II, and, unofficially, the third highest in all collegiate football. To put it all in perspective, Ranek has rushed for more yards than any other back at SDSU, the entire North Central Conference and all but two other people in any conference, at any school, counting all of the players that have ever played since statistics were taken.

Ranek says that it will take some time for all of his accomplishments to sink in, and that the most important thing on Saturday was going out with a win.

“I’ll probably take some time to think about (the records) in the next week or so, but I’m a team player, I’ll always be a team player,” said Ranek. “I’m just glad we got the win, it’s great for the seniors going out and great for the young guys to build on.”

Head coach John Stiegelmeier could not be happier the way Ranek ended his career at SDSU, and says the honors do not end with Josh.

“This is what you hope for, it’s kind of the final chapter,” said Stiegelmeier, “it’s a tremendous honor to (Ranek) and the big guys that block for him, and have ever blocked for him, but he doesn’t care about that, he just wants to win the football game.”

To get their seventh straight season ending win, the Jacks relied on the defense, and the defense delivered, holding the Mavericks to a mere 208 total yards.

“They came up huge,” said senior guard Doug Schultz, “They dominated, that’s the only word I can use, they dominated.”

The defense did dominate, but junior defensive back Joe Ford said it was not all that complicated. “We played man-to-man and we blitzed them, that’s all we did, and they couldn’t do anything.”

That simple game plan sounds a little easier than what the coaching staff asked for prior to the game, all they wanted was perfection, and coach Stiegelmeier thinks they came close.

“We’ve asked our guys to play a perfect game the last two weeks, and they came close today, especially the defense,” Stiegelmeier said.

The Jacks finish the season with a 5-6 record overall, but did manage to finish 4-4 in the NCC, with the last win one of the most important.

“There are so many benefits from winning in the end like this, it throw you into recruiting, it allows you’re young players to be excited about going into the weight room,” said Stiegelmeier, “but for me, the most important thing is to say you 16 seniors, you’re special, and this is for you.”

Josh Ranek may have gotten the most attention of the seniors, but the play of this game was a 7-yard catch by senior wide receiver Brent Herrboldt, who missed the entire season while battling cancer. One game, two Jackrabbit victories.