Player to Watch: Jake Ritts


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — We are less than two months away from the first Friday night of the 2020 high school football season. As we get ready for another outstanding year of football in WNY, we’re going to spotlight some of the players that stood out on the field in 2019 and are looking to shine in 2020.

In his junior season as the quarterback of St. Francis, Jake Ritts was statistically the best QB in Western New York. Jake threw for 2,195 yards and 27 touchdowns and was the winner of the 2019 Connolly Cup, awarded to the top football player in WNY each year.

As he heads into his senior season, Jake has big plans for himself.

“Personally, I want to win a State Championship, beat Canisius, and throw for over 4,000 yards because we’re going to be passing a lot this year, so hopefully I can do that,” St. Francis senior quarterback Jake Ritts said.

“I have goals for myself, but I also have goals for the team. The goals for the team come first. Win games, either run the ball or throw the ball, my biggest thing is to win games. That’s it. We went 8-2 last year? I want to go 10-0 this year.”

“Jake going into his senior year, everybody is expecting big things from him, and I think more he himself is expecting big things too,” St. Francis head coach Jerry Smith said. “A mark of a leader is being able to handle all that and still try to get better each and every day. While this pandemic stuff has been going on, he’s been doing that.”

“A couple times, he’s called some different guys up to do some things, throw the ball around a little bit wherever they can, out in a field or in a park or something like that. That’s something that a lot of times you can’t really instill that in somebody, he’s got to want to have to be great, and he has that desire.”

As the soft-spoken leader of the Red Raider offense prepares for his final year of high school, Jake looks back on his time at St. Francis and how it’s shaped him as an athlete and a person.

“Brotherhood. I feel like when I come out of here, I’ll be more of a man than when I came in. Coach Smith, Coach Otremba, they’ve taught me a lot, and I’m going to try to use that every day in life after I graduate from St. Francis,” Ritts said.

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