St. Joe football captains sign to play college football

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St. Joe senior football captains Conor Ratigan, Mark Hiestand, Casey Conery, and Ashton Ruszkowski all signed to play college football. The four held a joint ceremony Wednesday at St. Joe High School.

Ratigan, a wide receiver, will play for Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on. Offensive lineman Mark Hiestand will play at Air Force, fellow lineman Casey Conery signed with the University of Indianapolis, and quarterback Ashton Ruszkowski signed with Valpo.

This is certainly a great individual accomplishment for all of these guys, but what made it even more special was that the four all signed together.

"It's so special," Hiestand said. "These guys are like family to me. I've been playing with them since 6th grade, and we've been working hard and talking about this moment since, ever since we entered high school, and to have this moment and to do it with these guys is something I've always wanted to do, and it's really special."

"It's fitting actually, it's the four captains that signed today," Ratigan said. "These are my brothers, these are the people that I've been playing with for the last eight years, school ball, then high school ball, so to be able to share this moment with them means everything."

"I've been playing with Mark and Conor for six years now, Ashton for the last four, and just to come out here and accomplish the same thing, our dream of playing college football, it's amazing," Conery said.

"Finally getting that dream and finally making it a reality for all of us is something we talked about forever," Ruszkowski said. "It's just amazing and I'm glad I got to share the opportunity with these guys, they've been a huge part of the football player I've become, and they've always had my back and supported me, and these last four years have been filled with tons of memories, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."