Football

Lasting Legacy

Bison Illustrated Subscription

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

We sat down with 13 of the 15 seniors from the Bison football team that leave the NDSU program with an outstanding 58-3 record and an unprecedented four FCS championship.

 

#20 – Colten Heagle

Heagle

  • Position: Safety
  • Hometown: Appleton, Wis.
  • High School: Kimberly High School
  • Two-time first team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2013 and 2014.
  • 2014 Buck Buchanan award finalist along with teammate Kyle Emanuel.
  • Second team Sports Network all-American in 2014 and third-team in 2013.
  • First in unassisted single season tackles (59) and career unassisted tackles (191).

The Interview:

Has it set in?

“I keep getting that question but I think I have been able to think about it mostly these past couple of weeks with the game. I think it has set in with what I’ve been able to accomplish with NDSU and win four national championships and beating five FBS teams. Being around a great group of coaches and players and community that has been involved. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better experience.”

Working off the field has got to help with some of the realization that football is over, right?

“Yeah, knowing I have something else besides football makes me feel good. I couldn’t be more content with the opportunity to move on without football anymore. I think I’ll be able to do other things besides football and that means a lot to me. I’m just a regular person. I will be able to move on and become a part of the community.”

What’s the best part about getting on that stage in Frisco?

“In most sports, your last game will be a loss. To go out as a winner is huge. With this year losing coaching staff and a lot of seniors from last year that were good friends of mine and being able to come back with this group of guys and being able to go out on top and making history is a remarkable – especially with the amount of people that said we couldn’t do it again – now that its over.”

What are the differences you see in the Bison program from when you went into the 2010 season and before you went into this season?

“Being recruited in 2010 I didn’t know a whole lot about NDSU and I was only two states away. I now know we put NDSU on the map I think not just football wise but with other sports. You know last year we won nine conference championships, a game in the NCAA basketball tournament, baseball was able to break through and win a conference championship and get to the tournament, along with softball which has dominated over the past couple years along with track that’s been dominating the Summit for the past, probably decade. It’s been fun to be a part of this university and the culture here. Like I mentioned before, just putting it on the map in not just sports or in football, but academically I think its become a great institution with President Bresciani. I think this school is not going anywhere but up right now.”

bison_rmu_2012-0157

Have you noticed anything internally changing over the past few years?

“I don’t think so. It started with a tough attitude in the weight room the first year I came here with Coach Kramer. I was just able to read that article about Coach Kramer and Coach Miller and Coach Miller made the comment that you know coming in that you couldn’t have done anything else. You did it all to better yourself. And I think I have, I can say that – and most players can say that – because they have given it their all here. That’s the Bison way. You’re going to do everything you can to be successful. At NDSU it’s about being blue collar and how you work hard. You’re not going to be given anything here. You work hard and you work for what you get. I think that’s the epitome of NDSU and that’s never going to change.”

How do you hope fans remember you?

“I hope they remember me by knowing that I gave everything I could to this program and in this community and I will be continuing to do that because of how much this place has done for me. Basically, on the field, being a tough player and being able to continue the Code Green legacy on defense.”

#3 – Trevor Gebhart

Gebhart

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • High School: Washington High School
  • Four-time Missouri Valley Football Conference Honor Roll and will be working for Pepsi in South Dakota.
  • 82 career receptions with 865 yards and four touchdowns.

The Interview:

Being an NDSU football player comes with a lot of pressure. How do you cope with the expectations every year?

“You don’t really know what you’re doing while it’s going on. We know the records, we’re aware of it but it’s not something we talk about, having more national championships than losses. Scouts honor and everything, we didn’t talk about that once, it never crossed my mind. I had no idea until we had beaten Sam Houston State. Someone told Colten (Heagle) and he told me the next day. I was like ‘wow!’ and we were like it’s okay to talk about now because it’s out there and it’s there for the taking and we will accomplish that if we win the game that’s in front of us. All you do is go to the next game. Here’s your game, you play, you win and here’s your next one.”

So the winning streak was never a thought?

“It just happens. You’re not going to have a winning streak if you’re sitting here okay let’s string some wins together. It’s game-by-game, week-by-week and it just adds up.”

What’s next for you?

“I graduated in December, start my job in February and I’ll be working in Sioux Falls. I’ll be selling for Pepsi. I did an internship with them this summer and then it worked out well. I had a blast doing it. It was easy and natural for me. They offered in September and I accepted. It’s a relief. I got an income right away (laughs).”

Gebhart1

Is there anything you have learned over your five years here that you can take with you for the rest of your life?

“I’ve learned, well a few things, number one, if you won’t – and as cliché as it is and people always say it – if you want to do something and accomplish something no matter if its sports or anything, it’s possible. To get there it takes a tremendous amount of focus and energy and effort. But going back to what I was saying about the games, it kind of just happens because you’re so focused on doing something small right, and it just adds up. And eventually great things happen and people start noticing, that’s when the big things happen because you have done so many of the small things right. You’re not going to accomplish something great *snaps* just like that. It doesn’t happen that way.”

Is that kind of what people think when they mention Bison Pride?

“Yes. And it’s alive and well.”

#85 – Kevin Vaadeland

Vaddeland

  • Position: Tight End
  • Hometown: Park Rapids, Minn.
  • High School: Park Rapids Area High School
  • Returned for a sixth year after taking a medical hardship in 2010.
  • 2013 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference second team after catching eight-touchdown passes.

The Interview:

What were you telling yourself before the final drive against Illinois State?

“Just gotta stay calm. We did it against South Dakota State and with Carson back there that make plays.”

What ultimately set you over the top when making your decision to play a sixth year?

“I knew we had a good team coming back; a lot of good seniors and a lot of playing time between us all. Coach Klieman he knows what he’s doing. The two other coaches that came back, Tim Polasek and Tyler Roehl had already been here so we jelled right away and I knew we had something special.”

Was it championship or bust this season?

Vaadeland1

Photo Courtesy of Darren Gibbins

“Our expectations that were put on us were a little lighter. When we had the streak going, it was kind of a relief to lose one so you’re not thinking about it every game. You try not to talk about it but it’s always there.”

After that UNI loss, what does it say about this program’s ability to bounce back?

“We just took it one game at a time, one play at a time and one workout at a time. We just did the little things.”

#52 – Travis Beck

Beck

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Hometown: Munich, N.D.
  • High School: Munich High School
  • 2012 NCAA FCS Championship game MVP after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter.
  • Started 50 games and is 10th on the all-time total tackles (308).

The Interview:

What’s it mean to bring another championship back to your home state?

“It means a lot being from the state because there are so many people from around the state that played and you’re close to all your friends and family and they all come to your games so it’s good to make them proud. All them around that live in other parts of the country come up. It’s good having everyone have you back home.”

How was this experience in Frisco different than years past?

“It was different but I mean I was really proud how the team came back, just how they played and this last playoff run I was really proud how they all, defense in particular played throughout the course of the playoffs and in the championship game. It’s different in the championship game not playing, but I think I was more nervous for this game than any other game in my career. It was good to see how it ended up.”

Beck3

What kind of support did you get after you go hurt?

“I got a lot of support from players and past players were texting me. And I think that’s how it’s going to be here with anyone going down.”

What are you going to remember about this group of guys?

“There’s a lot of stuff. I’d probably say just a close-knit this group was. That’s really a big part of it. I haven’t been on a team like this. I don’t think there are many teams like this. Everybody gets along with everybody. You can go hang out with anyone on the team and it would just fly by. It’s not like that with a lot of groups. That’s what sticks out in my mind is just how close everyone is on this team.”

What’s next for you? “Finish up school and rehab this thing.

#9 – Esley Thorton 

Thorton

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Hometown: Bismarck, N.D.
  • High School: Bismarck High School
  • Made the transition from quarterback to linebacker in 2012 and made 20 career starts on defense. 
  • Four-time member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference honor roll.
  • Named to 2014 MVFC All-Academic first-team.

The Interview:

What have you learned here that you can take with you in every walk of life?

“I think just the hard work, every fall camp, winter workout just the grind of the season. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything again that physically, mentally demanding than that. I just have a newfound confidence going into the real world with my graduate studies. If I can handle this and succeed, I have no doubt I will find ways to succeed in other walks of life.”

Have you been able to sit back and reflect at all?

“A little bit. I remember talking to Christian when we were on the stage when we won and just being like ‘This is unbelievable.’ It’s unreal. Looking at each other up there and remembering hanging out in the stands as red shirts before we’d done anything, before we were on the map and then to see it come full circle and seeing each other on stage after everything we’ve accomplished, just being on that stage.”

Must have been a special moment.

“It really was.”

Thorton1

What kind of legacy are you hoping your class leaves with?

“How we were kind of the class that put NDSU football on the map first for division I. There’s already a lot of tradition here in Division II, but we’re the ones that put our print on the Division I era at NDSU football. Hopefully what we did solidified the fan base and what we did made the fan base grow and the fact we got more national attention with recruiting, hopefully brining in a higher level of athletes and leaving the program better than what we found it. Hopefully it continues to grow.”

What is Bison Pride?

“I think it’s selflessness. For me, it took me staying here and not transferring or quitting to really feel that bond with my teammates and the program. I’m just so glad I didn’t leave. I didn’t end up playing the position I came here to play, but I’ve gotten rewarded so much for staying and sticking it out. I’d say Bison Pride has a lot to do with selflessness.”

Is it funny that your career ended with the game-winning interception?

“It’s ironic.

Did you think about that at all after the play?

“No it didn’t because I’m a linebacker now. It’s been my life for the past three years. But if somebody were to tell me when I was a quarterback it would’ve seemed so far from realistic. It’s crazy.”

#35 – Christian Dudzik

Dudzik

  • Position: Safety
  • Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
  • High School: Skutt Catholic High School
  • Made 61-career starts at cornerback and safety.
  • Fourth in NDSU’s career unassisted tackles (154) all-time list.
  • Named to the 2014 all-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team.
  • Recorded 13 interceptions and recovered five fumbles in his career.  

Was this the most physically straining year for you?

“This year I was probably banged up more than I was any other year. I never really had any major injuries prior to the season and then I had the quad injury right away Iowa State and then a shoulder injury at UNI. They weren’t bad enough to keep me out of a game.”

Didn’t you ever just want to give it a rest for a couple days?

“I sat out probably one practice after each of those injuries but I was there. I just knew if I could be out there than I was going to be out there.”

Is that toughness just something all you Bison have?

“I would say so. Especially the guys that have been here awhile, they know how important it is for guys to be out there with their teammates and meshing on certain things, especially defense and older guys. Kyle basically had a broken hand all year.”

What was it about this team’s attitude after the UNI loss that propelled you guys to national champions?

“I think we felt like it wasn’t a part of our identity, the way we performed that game. We just knew we didn’t get back to the basics. And that’s what we did back at practice the next week.”

Dudzik2 Obviously four titles is what you’ll be remembered for but how else has your senior class left its stamp on the program?

“We just had great chemistry. From the start really I don’t know what it was I mean we lost a few guys throughout the years but for the most part we all stayed together. I think its one of those things that kept us together was during workouts there was just never any quit in the guys. Even like I said with Kyle Emanuel and he has NFL aspirations and he’s still playing through it. We just meshed because we had the same mentality and we wanted to win.”

What is it about the “Bison Pride” attitude that you can carry with you for the rest of your life?

“Finishing. The work ethic is the biggest thing I learned here. I mean, every rep is about finishing and doing things the right way and not taking short cuts. I think that’s just the pride of this team. We felt like we worked hard enough to deserve a win every week. We talked about it before, the most satisfying thing at the end of every game is knowing you did your best during the week of preparation and during the game and seeing the outcome being in your favor.”

Compare this one to your first?

“The first one was just ‘Wow. So this is what winning a National Championship feels like?’ This last one was like (laughs). I don’t know. It was just a challenge we set for ourselves and a lot of people felt like we couldn’t make it and to. I was thinking about it. That game was one bad call away from us losing. I think if we would’ve lost, I still would’ve been satisfied because I knew that guys especially our leaders the seniors, and myself put so much work into and did the absolute best that we could to put ourselves in the position to go out on top. Whether we would’ve lost or won. a victory is a lot sweeter just the satisfaction level of knowing you did your best didn’t matter in the outcome of the game.”

Esley Thorton told me you guys were on the stage together taking it all in. What did you say to one another?

“I was standing next to him the whole time and we just (laughs). It was just like ‘What a relief.’ It was a blur because five minutes earlier we weren’t sure if we were going to be walking off the field just sad because it’s over and we didn’t win. And then five minutes later we’re on the stage and confetti is falling on us and the fans on the field were chanting with us. After Carson (Wentz) scored and then Esley (Thorton) makes that interception, at times, I was just laughing hysterically. The nerves were just up and down. It was just something else. It was a unique experience.” 

 

#38 – Carlton Littlejohn
Littlejohn

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
  • High School: North High School
  • Played in 59 games at both outside and inside linebacker during his career.
  • Named to the 2014 all-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team.
  • Third in NDSU’s career unassisted tackles (155) all-time list and fourth on all-time total tackles list (345).
  • Scored two career touchdowns on a fumble and interception return.

The Interview:

What will you stick with you most about this last game in Frisco?

“The comeback. Last year, we were blowing the team out and it wasn’t very emotional. At the end, we already knew we were going to win, but this game just went down to the wire. This one was way more emotional because it was your last game and your thinking am I going to lose this last game. All that went through my head after they scored that last touchdown. I was sitting on the bench thinking about everything. I was sitting on the bench, couldn’t even watch the last drive at all. I was just sitting there with my head down and couldn’t watch. Then we got a shot to go out there again and we were like ‘They’re definitely not scoring.’”

Littlejohn1

Photo Courtesy of Darren Gibbins

What did you and Joe Mays talk about on Friday before the game?

“He pretty much congratulated us and told us how he loved watching this team and how we compared to the other ones. ‘You guys were way better than when I played.’ He was like ‘You guys are just way faster than us.’ And we told him every time we watch his team they were always knocking somebody out though.’ He said, ‘Yeah, we knocked them out but we couldn’t run that fast.’”

You handled everyone’s best shot for four years. What does that say about the program and this class?

“It just shows we’re resilient. We didn’t let that stop us. We didn’t let all the people coming for us, all the seniors leaving; we didn’t let that get in the way of the goal of winning another championship. We were out there to prove everyone wrong. That’s kind of our motto this year. We had a chip on our shoulder because people were saying we lost so many seniors and we weren’t going to be as good as we were last year.”

#17 – Adam Keller

Keller

  • Position: Kicker
  • Hometown: Lewisberry, Pa.
  • High School: Red Land High School
  • Holds NDSU records in made field goals in a game (5), season-season records in points scored (145), extra points (75), field goals made (29) and attempted (34), and career records in extra points (191), field goals made (56) and field goal percentage (80).

The Interview:

You set numerous records during your time here, is that your goal going into your career?

“You always try to set your dreams big as far as setting records or whatever it may be. I never would’ve imagined the success I did have always try to be the best I can be.”

How do you think this team left its mark on the program?

“I think just the stamp is that we’ve continued the legacy that’s been built from back in the 60s and we just continued to do the same. We had the opportunity to do the same and the ball rolled our way a couple times.” Keller1

What is Bison Pride?

“Bison Pride to me is the tears that I have when I look into the eyes of the other guys in the room on Senior Day. And just we know how much each and everyone of us have poured into this program and the respect that each one of us have for one another as well.”

What’s next for you?

“For me, I’m doing a little bit of training and see what I can do to perform at the next level. I’m going to do a pro day and try to go to a couple kicking camps and get some exposure through that and see what else. My back up plan if I don’t play football is, I’m going to be working for a private equity firm down in Dallas.”

 

#91 – Mike Hardie
Hardie

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • High School: O’Gorman High School
  • Four-time member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference honor roll.
  • Appeared in 46 games throughout his career.
  • Credited with nine career sacks and three fumble recoveries.
  • Caught a two-point conversion during the 2013 FCS championship game.

The Interview:

Has it set in?

“Kind of. I don’t think I’ll realize what we accomplished until we come back in five or ten years when the team is all back together again. I think it will take some years to fully realize what’s been accomplished. It’s more set in that I’m done playing than the fact that we just won four straight.”

When did the thought of a four-peat creep into your mind?

“The whole process started right away last year. We knew it had never been done. Last year, with the three-peat we were one of four or five teams that has ever done that. The idea was there, but it wasn’t something we talked about a lot. This year we played for this year, not the last three years. It’s one of those things that crosses your mind but you try to ignore it until after the fact. Now I can sit and think about it. It’s pretty cool.”

Hardie1

Photo Courtesy of Darren Gibbins

Injured early, how do you keep a positive attitude throughout the season?

“The family around me, just the guys. I think I proved myself and they knew I’d do anything to get out there if I could. It’s one of those feelings where if anyone else is hurt, you don’t want to say much because you know how badly they want to be out there. I think they supported me and they were all smart with me. I remember right away, it was looking like I’d need surgery and everyone understood. They said don’t rush it hopefully we can get you back don’t do anything that’s going to ruin your leg for the rest of your life. They were all so understanding because we’re all so close. We’re like a family. I leaned on them and they kept me going.”

So then how did the team console Travis Beck after his season ending injury?

“Beck is one of those dudes though. He doesn’t want to be consoled. He does but he doesn’t. But we did. That sucked because he doesn’t like giving all the interviews and that type of stuff. Honestly, I don’t know of a dude who cares more. You wouldn’t know it because he doesn’t show too much emotion but he cares, he really cares for all five years. It makes you grateful I guess. I somewhat knew his pain because I was really close to being in the same position. I’m glad he stuck around and stayed with us.”

He said the games are unbearable to watch when you’re hurt like that.

“That’s how I was when I was out. It’s the frickin’ worst because you can’t control anything because you’re sitting there. Oh my gosh that’s the worst. I was like, ‘If I ever thought about coaching college football those thoughts were gone after that.’ I understand why are coaches are so involved but it’s so stressful.”

#7 – Zach Colvin

Colvin

  • Position: Cornerback
  • Hometown: Superior, Wis.
  • High School: Superior High School
  • Two career interceptions and returned both for touchdowns (12 and 44 yards).
  • Made 51 career tackles, nearly all on special teams.
  • Played an important role on kick coverage during his final three years.

The Interview:

What was it like moving here from Fargo?

“It was a lot different. I came up here by myself, I guess we all did. I literally didn’t know anybody because I had to sit out a year. So I came up here and didn’t know a soul until that winter when I actually got to workout and lift with the guys and that was the norm. I just knew I was in the right spot right away. It just felt like home away from home.”

Four championship in four eligible years for you. Has it settled in yet?

“Honestly I don’t think it’s going to settle in for awhile because it’s not suppose to happen and it doesn’t happen, but we did it. We made history. I’m not going to realize it until I’m a little further down the road. It’s gonna sink in eventually and when it does it’s going to be heartfelt for sure.” Colvin1

Where does that drive come from to make plays on special team?

“Actually, it comes from my teammates. When I came in, you could say I was a baby, I complained a lot and they just picked at me, picked at me, picked at me and one day I gotta grow up. One day in practice I was like okay well I just broke my leg, I’m coming off an injury I have to do something and in practice I’d go 100 mph and I was just talking to everybody and taunting them and stuff. After awhile the coaches started getting the hint and Ariel Boyd got hurt so I got my chance and the first time I went in I made the tackle and from there it just kept going and going. That’s what I pride myself on is special teams. I hope somebody can take my spot next year and do the same thing I was doing.”

What’s Bison Pride mean to you?

“Bison Pride to me is indescribable. The unity and brotherhood we have here and the close-knit group we have is just amazing. To put Bison Pride in one word is incredible, the love we’re with each other everyday and we never get sick of each other. Bison Pride is something you feel and go through you can’t really explain it. The culture. The vibe. You feed off it. You just got to feel it.”

 

#65 – Adam Schueller

Schueller

  • Position: Offensive Line
  • Hometown: Fergus Falls, Minn.
  • High School: Fergus Falls High School
  • Appeared in all but two games as a member of the punt shield on special team.
  • Saw limited action as a backup offensive line and played a crucial role in establishing the “Ram” mentality.
  • Was named to the 2010 Missouri Valley Conference honor roll.

The Interview:

Has the fact that you’re a four-time champion settled in at all?

“The excitement has. Actually realizing what we did and how it all happened, I think that will probably take 20 years maybe. I told my girlfriend, we went down there knowing – you go to a National Championship to win it you don’t go just to go to a National Championship – so winning it was supposed to happen but how we won it and that last five minutes game was unbelievable. So that part hasn’t sunk in at all just how crazy those events were. Jesse walked in and said ‘Schu’ this is done.’ I cleaned out my locker this morning. It’s pretty crazy. That was the last time I’ll ever play football again.”

Schueller1

Alumni love coming back to watch you guys play, what’s that sense of Bison Pride mean?

“I think a lot of people have the same definition, but one thing we always talk about is that NDSU is a lot different. Now, I’ve never played at another school but from other stories from friends that have played at other places, we always say be a part of the Bison Family. That’s real. You’re in a locker room with a 100 other guys there are some guys that don’t like each other but if that guy needed help even though the other guy doesn’t like him, he’s still going to help him, you know what I mean. Just going to work everyday and not only doing it for yourself but doing it for everybody else. I knew as a young guy getting up at 5 in the morning to go run. It’s a lot easier when you have 60, 70, 80 guys coming to do the same ting you are. Bison Pride is doing anything for one of your teammates, even the alumni, like you said, those guys come down to Frisco and they love it just as much as we do.”

#76 – Jesse Hinz

Hinz

  • Position: Offensive Line
  • Hometown: Beatrice, Neb.
  • High School: Beatrice High School
  • Appeared in 42 games over his career, including 23 starts.
  • Four-time member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference honor roll.
  • 2014 first team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference

The Interview:

Congrats on the engagement and championship. Let’s talk about the engagement first. How did this unfold? Was it a spur of the moment thing?

“It was planned for awhile. It wasn’t a spur of the moment kind of thing.”

What would’ve you done it if you guys would’ve lost?

“Still would’ve. I probably would’ve done it on the balcony on top of the field.

Did she see it coming? Did you guys go ring shopping before?

“She had no idea. She thought we were going ring shopping on Monday after the game, but it was pretty cool.”

Hinz1

Photo Courtesy of Darren Gibbins

Has it settled in for that your football career is done and you guys went out as champs?

“Yes and no. I guess, when you think about it, it’s like yes we won four championships which has never been done, but as far as really understanding what it is like nobody has ever done that, like ever. It’s been an incredible ride. Just to be with these guys and be able to work as hard as we have and be able to accomplish what we have.”

What are you going to remember most about your team?

“(Laughs) Working out in the winter, I’ll always remember that. Because we’re always in there just tired, puking, miserable and we just hated it. But then you’d look to the guy to the right and the left and you remember this isn’t about you, it’s about something bigger.”

What kind of legacy do you think this class of seniors will leave?

“I think it leaves an example. It’s what we came here to do. It’s what Bison Pride is all about. I don’t think you can fully explain what it is. It’s just one of those things you can’t really say this is Bison Pride, if I had to summarize it, it’s just having love for each other. Everything, how we work how we play how we lift. We do it because we love each other.”

 

#68 – Zac Johnson
Johnson

  • Position: Offensive Line
  • Hometown: Fargo, N.D.
  • High School: South High School
  • Transferred from Valley City State after his sophomore season.
  • Appeared on the offensive line six times this season.
  • Got engaged to his girlfriend after the FCS Championship game and the video of the proposal was viewed over one million times on social media.

The Interview:

When did you know you wanted to drop on a knee and ask her to marry you?

“We looked at rings before the season started, before fall camp even started so back in August. I told her if you want to look at rings we better do it now because once football starts I’m going to be busy. Once football and school is going I’m not doing all that. We looked at rings way back then and I told her I’d never propose until I was done with school and football. So yeah. I honestly didn’t make the decision to do it until the night of the game. I told my mom to bring the ring down with her because she had the ring during the whole game. I said I wasn’t 100 percent sure I’m going to do it and I didn’t decide until the night before the game.”

What did your mom say?

“She knew when I bought it. I bought it two months before that. My whole family knew, everyone knew we were going to get engaged, all the guys on the team knew we were going to get engaged and that I had a ring. But no one knew when I was going to do it. Besides my family and I guess a lot of my teammates knew I was going to do it before I did it.”

JOhnson1

How long after the game was it?

“We went on stage and did all that celebrating and the I saw my girlfriend then now fiancé on my brother-in-law’s shoulders right up by the satge and I pointed to them I’m going down tis way. SO we walked to that end of the endzone probably 10 15 family members around, some on my side and some on hers and I dropped down and did it right there.”

Did you tell someone to have the camera phone ready?

“Oh yeah. My mom was in charge of video, my sister was in charge of pictures. My sister thought it was an awesome opportunity to do it.

“Just storming the field after winning a championship in of itself is an amazing moment and then asking the love of your life to marry you and to spend the rest of your life with you is just a huge moment, in-front of everybody who matters to me which is my family and my teammates and the fans. It was an awesome opportunity.”

Bring the championship back to you state?

“Its so awesome. It was my dream. That’s the whole reason I came back, it’s everything to me. I grew up here being a huge Bison fan, which was always my dream and I finally achieved it. It’s been an awesome opportunity to be a part of it.”

Lasting Legacy
Subscribe Bison Illustrated Now
To Top