Scholar athlete: Donnie Brechtel, Niceville High School
Center Donnie Brechtel knows the traditions of Niceville football, he's been around it all his life.
Like most players he is looking forward to a long season, just like one his father had in 1988.
“It's really my last chance to get a state ring,” Donnie said. “My dad has a state ring and my sister has a state ring.”
“My family wants it for me, but I want it as well,” Donnie said. “I want it really bad.”
Coach Johns Hicks believes Donnie can help lead the team to another title.
“His strength is just his day to day focus that others don't have,” Hicks said. “He doesn't have that bad day. Therefore, he's a guy you can count on, and lean on.”
His family legacy is hard to escape not only are there two state champions at home, but his uncle and sister are in the school's hall of fame at the high school.
No pressure to make a clear path of his own.
He has chosen a different number from his dad, for openers, throwing the shot put and lifting weights,
as well joining the Junior ROTC and volunteering with his school's Relay for Life.
He said meeting the cancer patients and presenting them with gifts is a rewarding experience.
“They fought and they've been through so much, just to be able to help them on a night, it's not much but just to be able to help them wherever you can, it fulfills me,” Donnie said.
It all helps Donnie stay well rounded, which is something he needs to be accepted to his dream school, the Air Force Academy.
“It's a rigorous academic institution and that's just a goal I've always wanted since I was a little kid,” Donnie said.
While Donnie strives to earn his own place and ring he embraces the legacy he's been given.
“You can tell his qualities are passed down from his family,” Hicks said. “From his mom and his dad to the way they approach things, to his sister. Again they know the things that make you successful in life and they passed those on to Donnie.”