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DEFENSIVE DRIVE LANDS EAGLE A SPOT IN S.D.

Josh Oliveira wasn't planning on being a defensive lineman.

But the week of his first game his junior season, Oliveira went in to check the depth chart. Instead of being at middle linebacker, the 5-foot-8, 225-pound Oliveira was listed at nose guard.

Baffled, Oliveira didn't ask questions. He just practiced his heart out that week.

"It actually ended up turning out for the best," Oliveira said. "When I started playing D-line, it was awesome. It was crazy. Contact every play. It was really just about who wants it more at that position."

Springstead coach Bill Vonada was banking on Oliveira's determination, and that's partly why he was moved to the line.

Oliveira spent the past two seasons playing nose guard and earned a spot at Northern State University, a Division II school in South Dakota. He has visited the school once, in May, and is excited about making the transition. Oliveira, already listed as a fullback on the Northern State's roster, will join former Springstead standout Seth Metz.

Oliveira proved his size wasn't an issue during his time at Springstead. He had a solid senior season, with a highlight game when he led the team in tackles.

"I try to make it an advantage," Oliveira said. "I'm already shorter than the guys on the line, so I can get under them. Since I'm smaller, I've got to be faster and quicker."

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