DECORAH – Gavin Nimrod’s mom already has a state championship to her credit this fall. So does Holt Johansen’s dad.
No pressure on you to finish off your unbeaten football season now, right, boys?
“No, no. None at all,” Brad Johansen said. “He’s won one in track already. Done that before. You know, it’s just a great time at our school right now.”
That school is Decorah, where both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams won team titles a couple of weeks ago. Brad Johansen is an assistant coach for the boys’ team, while Cristy Nimrod is head coach for the girls’.
Gavin Nimrod and Holt Johansen are starters for Decorah’s top-ranked football team, which plays Williamsburg in a Class 3A playoff semifinal Thursday night at the UNI-Dome. Kickoff is set for 8:21.
Nimrod is considered his team’s most indispensable defensive player as a senior safety. Junior Johansen is Decorah’s leading rusher.
“I feel we’re ready to go,” Holt Johansen said.
Cross country never really was an option for the boys, despite their parents direct involvement in that sport. The reason was simple.
“I like hitting people better than running,” Gavin Nimrod said.
The boys have experienced plenty of success in their non-cross country endeavors. There was the Class 3A state team track title last spring, a trip to the 3A state championship baseball game last summer.
Now there’s this.
“There has always kind of been a tradition here,” Gavin said. “Everyone expects to do well.”
“A lot of people are involved in sports at our school,” Holt said. “If you’re not participating in something, you feel like you’re kind of left behind. Our school’s (philosophy) is for everyone to be involved in at least two activities, whether it’s sports or something else.”
For the parents, at least these two, it’s been a great ride this fall. They’ve molded their respective teams into state champions.
Now they get to sit back, relax and watch their sons. Or maybe that’s actually the hard part.
“Of course, Decorah is going to win,” Cristy Nimrod said, when asked for a prediction on Thursday night’s game. “What I tell my cross-country kids is that you can’t control what the other team does. You have to concentrate on doing your best.”
“Certainly there are things you can control as a coach that you can’t as a parent,” Brad Johansen said. “But I really have not been nervous at all watching Holt play. To me, it’s just a lot of fun.”