Ripon College players and coaches gather around the Doehling-Heselton Memorial Trophy for a team photo. Ripon won the trophy for the 19th-consecutive season with a 52-0 win over rival Lawrence.
Ripon College players and coaches gather around the Doehling-Heselton Memorial Trophy for a team photo. Ripon won the trophy for the 19th-consecutive season with a 52-0 win over rival Lawrence.

   If anyone didn't watch the first 59 minutes of the Ripon College football team's game against Lawrence last week Saturday, they might have thought the outcome was hanging in the balance.

  Lawrence had the ball and was driving deep into Ripon’s territory, causing the players and coaches on the Red Hawk sidelines to watch with a careful and helpless eye.

   And then, when Ripon came up with a stop to force a turnover on downs, there was a feeling like the defense just won the game for the Hawks.

   Except, the score was 52-0.

   Instead, the effort by the third-string defense preserved the Red Hawks’ first shutout of their long-time rivals since 1989.

   That year, they defeated the Vikings 30-0.

   “I was so proud of them,” Ripon head coach Ron Ernst said about the players on the third-team defense, noting they’ve practiced just as hard, just as long and with as much intensity as the starters have this season. “I loved the energy on our sideline of every single player. When you watch the film, it was offensive guys, it was defensive guys; it was everybody pulling for those guys to make that stop to preserve the shutout and they got it done. I was just so happy for them and they did a great job. It just put the cap on the end to a really good day.”

   The shutout also put the finishing touch on the Red Hawks’ 19th-straight win in the series and allowed them to retain the Doehling-Heselton Memorial Trophy.

   They haven’t lost to the Vikings since 1999 and now hold a 65-46-7 edge in the rivalry, which is the oldest in the state of Wisconsin.

Read the full story, which includes information on a highlight-reel catch, in the Nov. 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.