It's football season in North Dakota. Every level of high school and college ball in the state is practicing and 9-man teams even play games later this week.
Zach Podoll enjoyed tremendous success in high school at Velva and now that he's a senior at the University of Mary he would like to find some of that success with the Marauders.
"I already graduated with my undergrad in athletic training. This year I'm just finishing my concentration in pre-med, and then I hope to take MCAT and apply to med school next summer," said Podoll.
"He's got like a 3.96 GPA, he's already graduated. So, my experience is kids that do that usually take full advantage of their physical tools and perform the best on the field," said Josh Kotelnicki, University of Mary Head Coach.
But, before he becomes a physician, he's got one more year on the football field. Podoll is changing positions from Tight End to Full Back in the Marauders new option offense.
"Football is a grind. It's a sport that you've got to put everything into it, and then you'll get everything out through that you could ever want," said Podoll.
And just like most kids, this game grabbed him when he was in grade school.
"Fifth and sixth grade YMCA, Minot - North Dakota. My school didn't have any organized football until junior high. And I mean, it was just kind of a tradition throughout Velva and, my coaches back in Velva, Coach Sandy and all those who, it was kind of a tradition, an Aggie tradition. And it was just, it was in your blood. If you're from Velva, you play football," said Podoll.
With football comes rivals, but it does not always stay that way .
"For me and him, him being from Velva and I'm from Stanley, I mean we kind of went through High School as rivals. We sort of knew who each other were in High School, but we didn't necessarily like each other just because we had that rivalry there you know. It's not what you expect coming to college, you know you don't expect to be rivals with some guys, and then, you know eventually in the future, probably be in their wedding," said Landon Smith, University of Mary Defensive Lineman.
Podoll said: "It's been really awesome. The guys I've met, they're like brothers to me. I couldn't imagine living my life without them. I mean, U-Mary has brought me closer to people I would never dream of even knowing."
Podoll knows his future the medical field, but he'll always love football.
"Football is something un-describable and you have to play it to kind of understand it," said Podoll.
Podoll and his U-Mary teammates take to the field for the first time on Sept. 3 at Concordia-St.Paul.