Campion the pride of Fergus Falls [UPDATED]Published 9:57am Monday, November 19, 2012 Updated 12:04pm Monday, November 19, 2012
Josh Campion, Fergus Falls High School grad and starting offensive lineman for the Minnesota Gophers, is helping to lead the University of Minnesota football program back to respectability. Minnesota is bowl game eligible this year, the first time since 2009.
Campion, a freshman, will play in a bowl game, a half century after former Fergus Otter Tim Cashman played with the Gophers in the Rose Bowl, in 1962.
Cashman was a backup running back when Minnesota defeated UCLA in Pasadena, Calif.
Minnesota’s status within the bowl hierarchy will be affected by the results of the final two regular-season games this year.
One possibility is the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas to be held in Reliant Stadium in Houston on Dec. 28.
No matter where the Gophers play, it will be fun to see the 6-5 and 309-pound Campion represent Fergus Falls in a bowl game.
“Josh was the best offensive lineman I had the opportunity to coach,” said Richard Risbrudt who announced a few days ago that he is stepping down as Fergus Otter football coach. “Adam Schueller, playing at NDSU, was a close second.”
Risbrudt said that Campion reminded him of a Reggie White (defensive end for Green Bay Packers) on offense.
“Josh would not only push his oncomers backwards,” said Risbrudt, “but he would just toss them out of the way. He had so many pancake blocks his senior year, you would have thought he was endorsed by Aunt Jemima.
“I’m so proud of Josh. His hard work and diligence are paying off.”
After playing for the Otters, and before joining head coach Jerry Kill and the Gophers, Campion attended Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. He helped lead the Blue Devils football team to a VISAA Division I state championship.
As a Fergus Otter, Campion earned 2009 all-state honors from the Associated Press and the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. He was one of 10 finalists for Minnesota’s Mr. Football award.
Campion earned All-Central Lakes Conference honors, helped lead the Otters to a 10-1 mark and state tourney berth in 2008 and was a standout wrestler for the Otters.
He was ranked the No. 1 Class AA wrestler in the state at 285 pounds.
“It’s great to see Josh doing so well as a member of the Gopher football team,” said former Otter football coach Rocky Elton who also is a FFHS grad and former U of M football player.
Elton made the University of Minnesota football team four consecutive years from 1951 to 1954 and earned letters in the latter three years. He was on the all-Big Ten Scholastic Team featured in “Look” Magazine.
After his five years of teaching and coaching at Fergus High, Elton became assistant football coach in Bloomington.
Bill Foss, a 1948 Fergus Falls High School grad, also starred as a football player at the University of Minnesota. Foss won a starting job with the Gopher football team, at end, late in his sophomore season.
He started every game for the Gophers his junior and senior years, mostly at offensive end but also occasionally at defensive end, offensive tackle and special teams.
Evie Faunce put Fergus Falls on the map in the late 1940s, stress sports enthusiasts when talking about Faunce as a star single-wing tailback for coach Bernie Bierman at the University of Minnesota.
Faunce, a 5-11 and 170-pounder, was a teammate of Bud Grant, who later became coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
Faunce completed some passes to Grant during Gopher football games at the old Memorial Stadium on the U of M campus.
Campion is part of some rich history at both Fergus Falls High School and the University of Minnesota.