Belle Plaine football coach Justin Johnston expected big things from senior captain Gavin Dauwalter, and with good reason. The offensive/defensive lineman also lines up for the Tigers in the fullback position.
Dauwalter (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) helped the Tigers earn a share of the Minnesota River Conference championship. They finished in a three-way tie with Tri-City United and Watertown-Mayer.
The Tigers earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A, Section 3 playoffs. They will host Fairmont in the finals at 7 p.m. Friday.
Here is a closer look at Dauwalter, who scored the Tigers’ first two touchdowns in a 33-7 victory over Blue Earth Area in the section semifinals:
Q: What is the best movie you’ve seen in the last year?
A: “42.” The story about Jackie Robinson.
Q: At my first varsity practice, I felt ...
A: Terrified. I was only a freshman at the time and I was scared about how much stronger all the older guys would be. But, at the same time I was excited because I knew that it was my chance to prove myself to the coaches and earn a spot on the varsity team.
Q: What did you work on most prior to the start of the season?
A: Getting stronger, faster, and improving my skills as a player.
Q: What are your goals for the remainder of the football season?
A: Make it to the state tournament and play in the Metrodome.
Q: To get focused for a game, I …
A: Run through all of the things that I can do to give my team the best possible chance of winning.
Q: I know I have an edge on an opponent when …
A: They’re moving slow and their head is down. It shows me that they have begun to give up.
Q: What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete?
A: Scoring a touchdown [on a 2-yard run] with 14 seconds remaining to beat Mayer Lutheran 35-31 in the fifth game of the season.
Q: How did you get started playing football?
A: My dad started me playing football back in elementary school. Ever since then he has supported me and pushed me to get better.
Q: Who is your school’s biggest rival, and why?
A: Jordan. Our towns are very close together and every sporting event between us is amplified, drawing large crowds from both towns.
Q: How do you balance school and sports during the year?
A: I do all the homework that I can in school, and finish off what’s left over after practice is done.
Q: When you have time off during vacation, what do you like to do?
A: I enjoy slowing down and relaxing. I’ll watch a movie, play some Xbox or hang out with my friends.
Q: Who is your favorite college or pro sports team and why?
A: The Minnesota Vikings. They are a team that keeps fighting every game, and works hard to improve.
Q: What is the best sports advice you ever received?
A: Be coachable. Many kids nowadays don’t like to listen to their coaches. Most coaches have good advice to give and help their players improve. You don’t know if something works until you try it.