The Mankato East football team is also at home this evening hosting the top team in 4-A  in the Winona Winhawks.

The Cougars are hoping to get a little inspiration from arguably the greatest player to come through the program.

Earlier today. Mankato East honored Craig Dahl by inducting him into their athletic hall of fame.

Dahl led the Cougars to the state championship game as a quarterback before going on to star at North Dakota State ...and then as a safety in the NFL.

"Some of the memories I'll have for the rest of my life here in Mankato with East and the athletics here," Dahl said.

Dahl wasn't the only inductee today. Also being honored were Kim (Westendorf) Bazata, Megan (Lundgren) Weber, longtime softball coach Tom Yess, community member Ron Kibble, and fellow football player Jamie Steffensmeier, who along with a bunch of other players, he credits for setting the tone in his high school years.

"There were a lot of players that came before me that shaped who I was here in Mankato and how I grew up. My brother being one of them. Jamie Steffensmeier who is with us today being inducted. There's a handful of guys I looked up to. Really competitive players that played the game and worked really hard and played together as a team," Dahl said.

Dahl holds East's career rushing yards, total yards and touchdown records, but he was arguably more successful in track, placing in the top five in all four events at state to help the Cougars capture the 2003 Track title. Yet neither football, nor track, were even his favorite sport.

"I really love football. Basketball was my true passion growing up as a kid. I've had more success in football and track. Football chose me in college, earned me a scholarship and gave me a nice life for my family," Dahl said. 

Dahl is currently enjoying his retirement from pro football after 9 seasons in the NFL, with his wife and new baby in Dallas.

-- KEYC News 12