DECORAH — You want pressure? It’s not playing in a state championship football game.
That’s easy, especially when you’re doing it for a second straight year like Drew Schwartz, James Ostlie and Michael Peter. Their top-ranked Decorah Vikings tackle Sioux City Heelan tonight for the Class 3A title.
The really tough thing for the senior trio actually came off the field earlier this fall when they auditioned to be all-state musicians. Now that’s pressure.
“That’s definitely more nerve racking,” Peter said. “In football, you are playing with all your friends. All your friends have your back, and you have their back. This is four people. If you make a mistake, everyone knows it.”
Peter and Ostlie were selected to be members of the all-state chorus: Peter as a tenor and Ostlie a bass. Schwartz made the all-state orchestra as a cello player.
The 2012 Iowa All-State Music Festival Concert is Saturday night at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
“My dad played the cello and started teaching it to me in fifth grade,” said Schwartz, Decorah’s leading receiver and a starting safety. “Football is just another activity for me.”
Ostlie is a starting offensive guard and linebacker. He was picked for the all-state chorus last year but couldn’t make the festival because Decorah was playing LaPorte City Union in the 3A championship game that same night.
He’s excited he’s able to do both this year.
“Looking back, I wish I’d had that experience last year,” he said. “You know, it’s really special to be able to be honored for both things.”
Peter is a starting tight end and defensive end. He said Decorah’s vocal director Jason Rausch began working with students over the summer on preparing for fall all-state auditions.
There’s two girls, two boys and a judge. That’s it. Pressure.
“You just try to concentrate the best you can,” he said.
There’s even a little more to this story than the boys being outstanding football players and musicians. They had brothers who played in the 2008 3A championship game that Heelan won, 35-10.
“We all remember the awe we had watching the game,” Peter said. “As young kids, we never really care too much or Heelan.”
“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Ostlie said. “They are a very quick team. But if our defense can play like it has lately, we’ll be OK. We’ve got to play ground-and-pound football.”
CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP GAMEDecorah (13-0) vs. Sioux City Heelan (12-1)
When: 7:06 p.m.
Where: UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls
Scouting Report: These two teams employ much different offensive styles. Decorah is a traditional power team out of the Wing-T, with tailback Holt Johansen and fullback Josey Jewell both recording 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Heelan’s leading rusher (freshman Jack Wegher) has just 576 yards, which shows you what it does offensively: spread you out and throw the football. QB Trent Solsma has thrown for 2,947 yards and 37 touchdowns, needing just 53 yards to become the 14th Iowa prep to eclipse 3,000 yards passing in a season.