Brave gets hard-nosed at the line

While he started out playing three sports in high school, Brownstown Central’s Justin Donnells decided that football was going to be the main focus in his final two years with the Braves.

Donnells, a three-year starter, is a two-way player for the Braves at fullback and defensive tackle.

Defensively, Donnells already has matched last year’s sack total, as he’s tied for second-most on the team with two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, both on a quarterback.

Donnells mostly played at defensive tackle last year while rotating into the offense’s running game.

A key piece in the Braves’ six-headed running attack, in the new shotgun wing-T offense, Donnells said he prides himself in hard-nosed play in the run game.

This season, Donnells is averaging 7.8 yards per carry on 13 attempts with 102 yards and two touchdowns through three games; compared to last year’s 53 attempts for 314 yards and five TDs.

Donnells started playing football in Brownstown’s 56ers program.

While he played center on the offensive line in fifth grade, Donnells has concentrated his time at fullback and defensive tackle since middle school.

“I’ve been playing since the fifth grade and always wanted to get involved in the sport,” Donnells said. “I used to run around the backyard with friends before playing on a team. That’s what kind of got me into it. I always wanted to play in the games. My friends are all playing so that makes it a lot of fun.”

Donnells’ career highlight is winning sectional as a team his sophomore year, and he said he wants to hold another trophy by the end of this season.

In his spare time, Donnells races ATV through Indiana’s trails.

“I like racing ATV’s, I travel around Indiana and race,” Donnells said. “It’s more of woods racing than jumps and stuff. I’ve been riding for a while now. I wanted to race this year so I got one and started racing.”

Following high school, Donnells plans on attending electrical lineman school.

“I always liked climbing,” Donnells said. “It’s a pretty physically-demanding job. It’s pretty dangerous, but it will be a lot of fun.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Parents: Percy and Mede Donnells

Sibling: Chelsea Donnells

Sports: football 4 years, track 2 years, basketball 1 year

Athletic highlights: 2013 football sectional championship

Plans after high school: lineman school

Favorite food: fried chicken

Favorite TV show: “Family Guy”

Favorite musician: Eric Church

Favorite movie: “Pineapple Express”

Favorite athlete/team: Tim Tebow

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Q: What do you look forward to most on Friday nights?

A: “It’s amazing playing at Blevins. There’s always a lot of people here on Friday nights. I just want to go out there and show them what I’ve got.”

Q: Do you still get nervous before games?

A: “Things are getting picked up quicker than before. I’m not as nervous which makes things easier. I don’t think about things too much, I just go out and play.”

Q: What will you miss most about playing football?

A: “I will miss being around friends every day. I will also miss those Friday nights for sure. “