The Gustavus football team concluded their season last weekend, after finishing with an impressive 6-4 record.
Season highlights for the Gusties included a 45-19 victory over conference rival St. Olaf at Homecoming, and a double-overtime win over St. John’s University in week eight.
The Gusties had a number of standout athletes on the roster this year, with an especially impressive individual effort coming from Senior Running Back Jeffrey Dubose.
Entering Saturday’s game, Dubose had already stamped his name on a number of Gustavus football records, including most rushing yards in a single season, most career rushing touchdowns, most rushing yards in a single game, and most rushing touchdowns in a single season.
Dubose added to the lengthy list of school records under his name on Saturday, rushing 35 times for 198 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the school record for most career rushing yards set in place by Tom Dahlberg in 1972.
Dubose started the game with 94 yards left to break the 41-year-old record.
“I thought about it a little bit before the game, and it was on my mind a little bit I guess, but then I started thinking more about having fun and just enjoying the last time on the field with the team—they’re like my second family—and I was able to play more freely and the yards just kind of came,” Dubose said.
Dubose’s athletic achievements between the sidelines of the football field are not the only asset that makes him a Gustavus football legend. Sophomore Quarterback Mitch Hendricks says Dubose’s leadership has also made a lasting impact on the program.
“He’s probably the most positive guy and the best leader I’ve ever been around. He’s the guy that, when you’re going into a game, he’s reminding each one of us that we can be the best ones on the field. He’s got the kind of confidence that you need to win games at this level,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks is not the only one who saw Dubose’s leadership abilities as a valuable asset to the team. Junior Defensive Back Zach Dilger says that Dubose has a charismatic way about him, even when the offense is not on the field.
“He’s got a really strong sideline presence too. He’s always building guys back up when they’re down. He’s keeping us focused, keeping us in the game. His leadership role stands out a lot in the offseason, too, and especially in the weight room. He’ll push you to be your best, and his work ethic is contagious,” Dilger said.
According to teammates, Dubose possesses a number of traits that allow him to stand out as an athlete in Division III football, including his work ethic both on and off the field.
“He has that drive to work, it’s unbelievable—I see him in the weight room during the offseason getting his body prepared for football, his strength is incredible. His pure athletic talent is also part of his success—he’s just gifted,” Junior Wide Receiver Michael Schnabel said.
Dubose is without a doubt an irreplaceable asset on a winning team, but according to other players, his legacy will last for years to come.
“I think the consistency and the positivity that we had as a team this year was refreshing for all of us. That was key in turning this program around for years to come,” Hendricks said.
While Dubose’s time with the Gustavus football program is over, he has no plans to stop playing football.
“I don’t really feel like I’m done with football yet. I’m looking into trying to continue my career at the next level, and I’ve found a few opportunities so far. The coaches have been very helpful with that. If I can play more football then that’s what I’m going to be doing,” Dubose said.
According to Dubose, he will still be found working hard at improving his game in the future, hoping to get stronger and faster by competing on the Track and Field team in the spring.
“I know I have to get faster so I’m definitely doing track again. I’m also really going to focus on my strength, too. Strength and speed are really big things if I want to get some looks at the next level,” Dubose said.
Running for 198 yards and earning the all-time rushing record in the final game of his career, was a picture-perfect way for the senior running back to finish his Gustavus football career.
“I just thank God for the abilities he gave me, and the opportunities to do so much here,” Dubose said.