Northern Star: Joe Yernatich
The offensive lineman looks back on his years as a Bulldog.
DULUTH, Minn.- Joe Yernatich is entering his 12th and final season of his football career.
“It feels weird. I’ve been playing football since fourth grade. This is the last time i’ll strap it up, last fall i’ll be able to play so it’s weird,” said Yernatich.
Since the age of 14 the Duluth native had envisioned himself as a UMD Bulldog.
“I mean it ultimately was the goal. Since ninth grade I’ve wanted to come here and play here and continue with the tradition of UMD football. I grew up a couple of blocks away from campus so I know the program. It’s kind of what I’ve been trying for since ninth grade so it’s very, very, very rewarding that I’ve made it this far.”
“He’s exactly what we thought he would be when we recruited him. He’s a tremendous person and family first that’s the kind of guy Joe is. He’s kind of been a workman as far as on offensive lineman. He waited his time, he worked to wait two or three years to have an opportunity to start. Now he’s a leader of our football team, leader of our program and a leader of our offensive line,” said head coach Curt Wiese.
His time at Minnesota–Duluth and as a member of the team has exceeded his expectations.
“It’s been better than I could’ve anticipated. We’ve won a lot of games. I’ve met friends that i’ll have for life, brothers and i can’t think of a better experience for anyone. For me and my teammates.”
Entering this final season Yernatich and the rest of the Bulldogs just have one thing left they want to accomplish.
“Yeah I think all a hundred some guys in the locker room, that’s the ultimate goal is to win that final game on December 15th. That’s what we come here for. That’s why we come to UMD and play for the program. That’s what the coaches strive for. That’s what all year we work for. So that’s the goal and that’s hopefully what we achieve.”
In order to achieve that, he know’s what needs to be done.
“Take it week by week and win one game at a time and everyone stay healthy and see where the season takes us.”