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Ripp in unprecedented territory at new position for Los Gatos

Jake Ripp leads the Central Coast Section in tackles. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Jake Ripp leads the Central Coast Section in tackles. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

Jake Ripp is in unprecedented territory as a junior linebacker and tight end at Los Gatos.

Last season, Ripp was a revelation at defensive end before making the transition as a junior. Ripp had 87 tackles, five sacks and one fumble recovery while Los Gatos captured a Central Coast Section Division II championship.

It gave Ripp just the confidence he needed, especially as he made the adjustment to a new position over the offseason. 

“Having that year on varsity last year has really helped me a lot because JV and varsity are completely different levels of play,” Ripp said. “And the physicality is way different. It’s a little bit more complex, so it’s helped me a lot just getting that extra year. I’m glad he pulled me up.”

The biggest part of the move was reading and reacting to defenses, as Ripp said as a linebacker he’s now reading a lot more than he ever did before.

Despite the challenges of moving over to linebacker, Ripp looks like a Division I college football player in every sense, registering 54 tackles – including a combined 42 in the past two weeks – along with five tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Los Gatos is allowing just 10 points per game with Ripp leading the way.

Ripp’s 54 tackles are the most in the Central Coast Section and seven more than any other CCS player, according to statistics available on MaxPreps.

“I was a d-end last year, and then I didn’t really have to read as much and I didn’t have to think. I just kind of went,” Ripp said. “And coach Farwell has been helping me a lot with my reads and just during practice he’s helped me a ton. I was not very good at the beginning when I was originally moved to linebacker.”

Another help for Ripp is adding 35 pounds, bumping up from 175 pounds to 210.

He said he added a squat rack as soon as COVID hit.

“I’ve put on a lot of weight thankfully,” Ripp said. “I was pretty skinny last year, but the game is less stressful. The crowd is not as big, literally it isn’t as big. It’s less stressful. Mostly less stressful.”

While Ripp is still working on his recruitment, he is gearing up for another special campaign with his Wildcats teammates and just secured a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division division.

Although there are no playoffs this season and they can’t go for two straight section crowns, he is aiming for all the perfection Los Gatos can obtain.

“Go undefeated. That’s it,” Ripp said. “Just go undefeated.”

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