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Ozenbaugh replaces Fasani at RC

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Ozenbaugh replaces Fasani at RC

Ranch Fasani watches the action from the Nov. 30 Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship game between Ripon Christian and Bradshaw Christian at the Grape Bowl. That turned out to be Fasani’s la...

HIME ROMERO/Bulletin file photo

POSTED April 8, 2014 12:48 a.m.

RIPON – Trey Ozenbaugh joined the Ripon Christian football staff on a whim.

Nine years later, he’s a little more invested.

A fixture on the Knights’ frosh-soph coaching staff, Ozenbaugh begins the spring season with a new title and new orders: Varsity head coach. 

Athletic Director Joe Darretta made the announcement on Monday in a press release. 

Ozenbaugh replaces former NFL quarterback Randy Fasani, who will be leaving the area to return to his hometown of Loomis. Fasani starred for Del Oro High and Stanford before embarking on a pro career that includes stints with the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. 

Fasani was 10-3 in his only season varsity head coach, leading the Knights to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI championship game. Ripon Christian was ousted by Bradshaw Christian, 35-28.

Ozenbaugh becomes the fifth coach in the program’s short history, following Ted King (4-6), Jeremy Byrd (10-11), John Vander Schaaf (14-18) and Fasani. The first-year varsity coach looks to continue to the program’s upward arc. 

“We’re trying to build a tradition of football at Ripon Christian. Coach Vander Schaaf before Randy and Randy before myself have set the bar high as far as character goes and that will not change,” Ozenbaugh said. “We want to have an effect on these young guys long past their time in high school.

“We’ve had some success with the program the last few years in terms of wins and losses, but certainly the impact on the guys and the opportunity to be a positive role model … that’s the greatest benefit of coaching.”

Ozenbaugh has experienced success at the frosh-soph level, where he spent seven of his nine seasons as co-coach and offensive coordinator. His team went 8-2 last fall and finished second in the Southern League. Their only losses were to the Oakdale freshman football team and Mariposa, two tradition-rich programs.

“I’ve been coaching at the (frosh-soph) level for a quite a few years. I look forward to the challenge of the varsity level,” he said. “Our role in the past has been to prepare freshmen and sophomores for varsity football, so moving to the next level makes good sense. I know the kids.”

Fasani’s departure means Ripon Christian will enter the fall without a marquee name to generate outside buzz. 

The former Stanford star was widely recognized as an innovative offensive mind. His offense averaged nearly 47 points per game last fall. The Knights scored 50 or more point six times, topping out at 84 in a shutout win over Turlock Christian on Oct. 11. 

Fasani also served as the offensive coordinator under Vander Schaaf.

A large majority of those points were scored by running back Andrew Brown, who led the section with 2,781 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns. His 126 career touchdowns are fourth most in California state history.

Brown will graduate later this spring.

“We know that we’ve got a lot of touchdowns to replace,” Ozenbaugh said, “but we know that we some quality skill athletes coming back. Our goals will always remain the same – compete for a league title and play for a section championship.”

The cupboard is far from bare. Quarterback Billy Marr is poised for a breakout senior season.

Not that his junior campaign was bad.

Marr threw for 1,783 yards and 18 touchdowns with just five interceptions, numbers that earned him a place on the all-Southern League honor roll as an honorable mention.  

This fall, he’ll step into the spotlight, filling the role of leader and offensive catalyst left vacant by Brown. Ozenbaugh is confident Marr can handle the pressure.

He’ll have a strong supporting cast. Will Kamps and Tyler Driesen will anchor the offensive line, while receivers Jonah Lewis and Jared Stuit combined for 34 catches, 617 yards and six touchdowns last fall. 

Kevin Kramer and Brian Sytsma enter the spring as the top running backs on the roster. 

“Billy will need to provide great leadership,” Ozenbaugh said. “Randy was a tremendous asset to Billy. He had the skillset to instruct Billy and you saw great numbers from Billy. I think we’ll have the opportunity to protect him, and we hope he has a tremendous senior season.”

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