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Football became ‘brotherhood’ for O’Tool

Photo courtesy Dan L. Vander Beek Photography/Central College St. Edmond graduate Tate O'Tool will look to help Central College score a victory in the NCAA Div. III Playoffs this Saturday.

PELLA – Tate O’Tool left quite the impression on two football programs over the past eight years.

But the game itself also gave O’Tool memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

O’Tool, a former St. Edmond all-stater and school’s all-time rushing king, finished his career at Central College this fall.

“Football has always been a big part of my life,” O’Tool said. “I was extremely blessed to be able to further my career. Getting to be a part of the Central family has been nothing short of amazing.”

The Dutch reached the NCAA Div. II playoffs and were co-American Rivers Conference champions this year, finishing the season 10-2 overall. O’Tool was one of 10 Central players who earned all-conference honors for league coach of the year Jeff McMartin.

On the season, O’Tool finished with 92 tackles, including 44 solo stops from his linebacker position. He had 7.5 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, recovered one, picked off a pass and broke up five passes.

“Football has taught me more about life and how to be a better man than I could have ever imagined,” O’Tool said. “I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the years, it truly means a lot.

“I love the game of football, but not as much as I love my family and friends. The friendships I made on the team turned more into a brotherhood that I will never forget.”

Over his career with the Dutch, O’Tool made 183 total tackles in 32 games, with 84 of those being solo tackles. He had 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, 15 passes defended, four forced fumbles and four blocked kicks.

At St. Edmond, O’Tool set school records with 5,437 yards on 810 attempts with 80 touchdowns scored. His 47 TDs as a junior are the most in a single-season, a year in which he also ran for 2,590 yards.

O’Tool twice ran for 279 yards and had five other games of over 250 yards on the ground during his career. He was also the team leader in tackles each of his three seasons on varsity for the Gaels.

On the state single-season leaderboard, O’Tool’s career yardage total ranks 16th all-time, with his touchdowns scored mark placing him eighth. His 286 points scored in 2014 is the ninth most in state history.

In terms of state career records, O’Tool is 14th in touchdowns, 19th in points scored and 23rd in rushing yards.

Now, O’Tool will turn his complete attention to school, completing his degree in Athletic Training.

“After that, I will take a gap year to complete some classes and apply for a PA program,” he said.

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