Lane Barnes (43) flips the ball to the referee after returning an interception for a touchdown against Finlandia last year. He will return to anchor the defense this season.
Lane Barnes (43) flips the ball to the referee after returning an interception for a touchdown against Finlandia last year. He will return to anchor the defense this season.

   With a little more than a month left until the season kicks off, Midwest Conference football coaches met last week Thursday in Lake Forest, Ill., for the second-annual Media Day.

   Ripon College head football coach Ron Ernst, who is entering his 29th season at the helm, took to the podium fourth. He addressed his time with the program, offensive system, strengths, weaknesses and his team’s incoming freshman class.

   The preseason coaches poll also was released, with Ripon being picked to finish second in the North Division with 52 points
St. Norbert was chosen unanimously to win the North Division once again, receiving 72 points.

   Lake Forest, which traded divisions with the University of Chicago this season, was third with 51 points. Rounding out the division were Macalester (40), Lawrence (24) and Beloit (13).

   Monmouth was picked to win the South Division with 66 points and was followed by Chicago (65), Illinois College (46), Knox (33), Cornell (30) and Grinnell (12).

  Ripon will begin its season Saturday, Sept. 7 with a home game against Augsburg University.

   It will face the two teams — St. Norbert and Lake Forest, predicted to finish near them — back-to-back weeks in October.

   The St. Norbert game is slated for Oct. 12 at home, while it will travel to Lake Forest Oct. 19.

Read the full story, which includes his responses to several questions, in the Aug. 8, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.