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Posted at 2:18 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 15:20:01-05
It's an exciting week at Big Foot High School in Walworth.
"We've got a lot of Packers fans here and a lot of Travis Frederick fans here, so a lot of people are talking about the game," said Tim Collins, the school's Athletic Director.
Frederick plays center for the Dallas Cowboys, who host the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon in an NFC Divisional Playoff. But before he was an AP 1st Team All-Pro, and three-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Frederick played offensive and defensive line at BFHS. He grew up in Sharon, Wisconsin.
While in high school, Frederick was a WIAA All-State selection and played on a team that finished state runner up in Division 4 in 2008.
Collins credits the big lineman, who went on to become an All-American at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before being drafted in the first round by the Cowboys, with establishing a winning culture at Big Foot.
"He started the streak of us winning 56 conference games in a row. He started the streak of our team going to state three times in a row," Collins said. "Travis set the standard through his dedication, his work ethic and his leadership."
"We didn't know, obviously, that he would be a 1st Team All-Pro," Collins added. "But we knew he was going to do great things."
District Administrator Dorothy Kaufmann, a close friend of Frederick's family, enjoyed watching him grow up.
"I've had Travis in school, as a student, since he was four years old," she said.
Kaufmann said she still remembers her conversation with Frederick at a family get together after he was drafted by the Cowboys.
"I said, 'Now Travis, you be really careful of your head. You be safe,'" she said. "He said, 'Oh, Mrs. Kaufmann, you're being silly.'"
"We're very proud to have him representing not just Big Foot High School but Walworth County and the State of Wisconsin," Kaufmann said.
She said she'll always remember Frederick's compassion for others.
In 2009, after he had graduated early to enroll at Wisconsin in time for spring ball, Kaufmann said Frederick returned home to finish out his duties as co-class president by helping out with graduation preparations.
"We'd be proud of him even if he wasn't playing in the NFL," she said. "He's just an amazing guy with a wonderful heart."
Collins said he's not sure how many of Big Foot's students and employees will be cheering for Frederick's Cowboys against the Packers this weekend.
"It's amazing how many Dallas Cowboys fans we have now around Big Foot and the Walworth area," Collins said. "Travis is our son. When he comes back, he's not Travis the NFL star. He's just Travis."
He noted Frederick's family won't be broken up over their son playing the home state Packers.
"Travis and his family are actually hardcore Bears Fans," he said.
Kaufmann said she'll be cheering for Dallas Sunday. Collins is backing the Packers, although he's hoping Frederick plays well.
"I hope Travis plays a fantastic game like always - no penalties - and that the Packers win by one," he said with a smile.
Kickoff Sunday is set for 3:40 p.m.
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