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Preds Donte Pettis on fire this season

Posted 7/1/2013

MENOMONIE — Donte Pettis was the first person out on the field prior to Saturday's game between the Chippewa Valley Predators and the Menomonie Thunderhawks.
While the rest of his teammates and opponents were just arriving to the stadium, Pettis was doing calisthenics and going through receiving drills with a coach. More than an hour before the game, Pettis already had worked up a sweat but that didn't seem to slow him down.
All of that hard work has paid off for Pettis, who has become an instrumental player on both offense and defense for the 
Predators this season.
"Hard work is something that's just instilled in me," Pettis said. "I came out of North Dakota State and Winona State and those are two very good programs that kind of put that in you. Starting day one you come in and you work hard, and then you work harder the next day. It's just something I've been doing all along."
Pettis — who led the 
Predators with 131 receiving yards, two touchdowns and 14 tackles in Saturday's 26-20 win over the Thunderhawks — has accomplished more than many athletes have in his football career.
Coming out of high school in Milwaukee, Pettis decided to play football and run track at North Dakota State. While he was there, the football program was in the midst of a transition to Division I. Despite having success in Fargo, Pettis decided to transfer to Winona State after two years.
While at Winona, Pettis mainly played defensive back before graduating from the program in 2005.
"College football just made me want to be the best person you can be," Pettis said. "You don't want to let anybody down, especially yourself."
After college, Pettis played for several arena football teams. He lived in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas playing with and against some of the best players in the country. Pettis said he even got the opportunity to play against people like Terrell Owens and work with players like Peter Warrick.
The work ethic he learned in high school and college was only intensified in the arena leagues because Pettis said the teams often were "revolving doors," so if he didn't prove his worth day in and day out the team could easily find a reason to let him go.
"Coming out of high school, you're 'the man,' " Pettis said. "But then you get to college and it's a wake-up call because it's you and everyone else who was 'the man' at their school. And then with arena it's even that times ten because you're playing with the top guys who didn't make the NFL or the CFL. You're constantly being reminded how much better you can be."
Pettis, who now lives in Minneapolis and works an education assistant at an alternative learning school and as a counselor at a treatment facility, has transferred everything he learned through his years of football to the NEFL.
Because the 30-year-old lives in the Twin Cities, he is unable to make most team practices. Instead, his teammates rely on Pettis to be prepared for each week's game on his own. And so far, he hasn't let the 
Predators down.
But even though he is still just as good as ever, Pettis is beginning to think it's time to hang up his helmet and cleats. Although he hasn't officially decided anything, Pettis has said this will probably be his last year of playing amateur football.
Instead, he'd like to get back into coaching and teach kids about the sport he has grown to love so much.
"I've lived a great football life," Pettis said. "I'm thirty, so I'm thinking this might be my last year. There's so many other things I'd like to do, and I think it might be time for me to start doing some of those things."

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