MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Orono High School has some unfinished business this season.

The Spartans lost in the state championship last season, but a Gopher signee is a major part of this team’s drive to bring home a title.

Senior Danny Striggow has one thing to work on before he goes to play for P.J. Fleck at University of Minnesota.

“Obviously, I’ve got to get bigger. Defensive ends in college football, a little bit bigger than myself,” Striggow said. “I’ll get there. Just keep doing what I do, play hard.”

In the meantime, head coach Joe McPherson says he helps the whole team “rise up.”

“Having that constant guy out there that’s looking out for the team and getting to the level that he’s at is a lot of fun,” said head coach Joe McPherson.

Danny Striggow (credit: CBS)

Striggow is one talented athlete.

“If I weren’t going to play football, I would probably choose the wrestling route,” Striggow said.

But there’s more to him than his athletic ability. Coaches love a player like Striggow: Talented in football, talented wrestler — but he’s also a community man and a leader.

“I’m the chair of the unified organization here at Orono schools, which brings in kids with and without intellectual disabilities. We treat them as one,” he said. “I’m on the student board of directors downtown for Special Olympics Minnesota.”

Leadership is invaluable, especially for a team that finished as state runner up last season.

“That’s what we need this year,” McPherson said. “To be successful, our young guys are going to have to step in. And these guys are committed to doing special things this year.”

“Obviously we didn’t get what we wanted last year. We were this close to being that team. We’re coming around. We’ll be there this year,” Striggow said.

That’s actually one of two predictions he made.

“We’re the team to watch. We’re going to be that team that’s buzzing out there. We’re going to have the highlights on Friday nights,” he said.

Norman Seawright III