Braced for success

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 4, 2012 - 9:07 PM

After missing much of last year because of a knee injury, Edina's Deon Dorvil is back battling double teams and creating havoc.

Edina defensive line coach Jason Van Houten has to restrict star pupil Deon Dorvil in practice. He's rough on teammates before he's unleashed on opponents.

"We maneuver people around to make sure he doesn't hurt them and make them quit because he keeps kicking their butts," Van Houten said.

Dorvil, a 5-10, 290-pound senior defensive tackle and linchpin in Edina's defense, returned from a torn ACL last year and resumed his dominating ways. His toughness and selflessness -- he often ties up two offensive linemen to give teammates a cleared path to the ballcarrier -- helped fueled the rise of the Hornets (5-1) to the third-best team both in the state and the competitive Lake Conference. A huge test awaits Friday at No. 2 Wayzata (4-0).

Edina coach Reed Boltmann said Dorvil, who arrived at Edina as a sophomore from Miami Northwestern High School, "brings a Southern football toughness. He's a banger in there and he goes hard every play. Every coach we talk to say he's the focal point on our defense. He allows other guys to make plays because of all the attention on him."

Extra attention ruined Dorvil's junior season in a game against Lakeville North. Locked in a pass rush against two offensive linemen, Dorvil was hit low by a third player he never saw coming.

"He was single-handedly keeping us close in that game," Van Houten said. "He was creating a lot of unpleasant down and distances for them."

Felled by the first injury of his athletic career, Dorvil decided to "take my frustrations out on the weight room," he said. His best bench press was 330 pounds. His best squat was 450. He gained almost 30 pounds but did not sacrifice quickness.

He also worked diligently on rehabilitating his injured knee. Edina junior running back Kevin Placide, Dorvil's brother, remembers him "going outside to exercise to make his knee better more quickly."

"Overall, he's a player I look up to because he keeps trying and never gives up," Placide said. "That's what we want our team to be."

Apprehensive earlier this season about whether the knee would hold up amid the rigors of life near the line of scrimmage, Dorvil has mostly forgotten the injury. His lone reminder is the right knee brace he will wear for two years as a precaution.

"It took some time to get used to the brace, but I feel like I'm a better player," Dorvil said. "My uncle told me not to be scared. He also told me, 'Don't stay on the double team and push it back, try to split it or get around it.'"

While playing with a brace is not ideal, Dorvil knows he is fortunate to be on the field for the game at Wayzata. Last Friday, Trojans star running back Mitch Underhill tore his ACL in a game at Minnetonka. Like Dorvil, Underhill lost a promising junior season to the same injury.

Dorvil lamented the speedy runner's absence in a manner befitting a salty defensive player. "Actually, when I heard Mitch was out I was kind of down, because I knew I wouldn't get to hit him hard," Dorvil said.

Taking a similar respectful but not fearful approach has helped Edina assert itself in the Lake Conference. The Hornets upset Minnetonka two weeks ago, then beat Hopkins in a game crucial to postseason positioning.

The new Class 6A section playoff format allows the top four teams to play the bottom four teams within each section before crossing over to play another section. Though Edina resides in Section 6 with the four other Lake Conference teams, the Hornets might not have any Lake teams standing between them and the state tournament.

That would be a welcome change, considering that Edina's previous eight postseason runs ended with losses to either Eden Prairie or Minnetonka.

Dorvil has no plans of going home early, regardless of the opponent.

"We put in too much work to lose, and we said after losing to Totino-Grace [on Sept. 7] that we're not going to lose again," Dorvil said. "We're all working hard and we have a strong connection. We're working as one to get to the Dome."

  • related content

  • Weekly staff football picks

    Thursday October 4, 2012

    David won two of three last week, improving to 11-11, while Jim fell to 14-8. David has the home team in all three games this week, giving him a fighting...

  • High school league looking for new fall, winter state tourney sites

    Thursday October 4, 2012

    A lack of traditional fall and winter state tournament sites has the Minnesota State High School League considering its options.Losing...

  • Prep football metro top 10

    Thursday October 4, 2012

    METRO TOP 101. Eden Prairie (5-0): Offense is averaging 44.4 points per game.Next up: at Minnetonka2. Wayzata (4-0): Life without...

  • Friday's metro-area prep football schedule

    Thursday October 4, 2012

    FOOTBALLAll games 7 pm unless notedTHURSDAYST. PAUL CITY• Highland Park vs. Como Park (at Griffin)FRIDAYCLASSIC SUBURBAN• North St. Paul at...


    Thursday October 4, 2012

    The numbers: Dorvil enters Friday's game ranked fifth on the team with 26 tackles. He also has four quarterback hurries and a forced fumble to his credit.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
New York 6:30 PM
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Miami 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Carolina 8:30 PM
Columbus 9:00 PM
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Houston 7:00 PM
Montreal 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM


question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters