Hudson Valley Sports Report


Linebacker Will Join His Father For His Final Season

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Jake Ward, one of the most highly regarded defensive players in area high school football, said today he is transferring from Marlboro to Cornwall for his final season in the fall.

Ward is the son of Rich Ward, the ultra-successful former Marlboro coach who led the Iron Dukes to six Section 9, Class B championships during an eight-year span between 2010 and 2017. His contract was not renewed in 2018 and he is now an assistant at Cornwall.

“Cornwall is a very good academic and athletic school. The opportunity (to transfer) was there and I took it, mostly because I feel like it’s going to prepare me for college,” Jake Ward said. “And I’ve always wanted to play for my father ever since I was a kid on the sidelines at Marlboro helping give water to the players. It’s going to be fun.”

Ward is considering Alfred, Montclair, Brockpart, St. John Fisher, Cortland and Castleton St.

As much as the elder Ward built a legacy at Marlboro, the younger Ward will step into one of the best programs in the state. The Dragons won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse in both 2018 and 2019.

“Moving up a class will challenge me a bit, no doubt,” Jake Ward said. “But challenges make people better, academically or athletically.”

Ward had entertained the idea of transferring weeks ago after Marlboro football coach Brian Beck stepped down and assistant Ryan Brooks was named the new head coach.

But Ward is also an accomplished boys lacrosse player and wanted to wait until the Marlboro/Highland lax season was over and he had a chance to speak with coach Tom Schlappich face to face.

Ward had an outstanding junior football campaign during the spring ‘Fall II Season” earlier this spring, helping Marlboro to a berth in the Section 9, Class B title game before losing to Port Jervis. Ward had 40 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions, proving himself as arguably the best linebacker in the area as a run-stopper, a defender who could drop back into coverage and someone who could put pressure on the quarterback.

But, he said, nothing is a given at Cornwall.

“I definitely have to earn my spot,” he said. “I’m looking forward to grinding with my new teammates.”

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