Jonah Britton got a text in the late summer that he didn't expect. It was from Robert Gross, his football coach at Bowman Academy.
Britton was coming off a great junior season where he made 70 tackles at middle linebacker.
"I need you to play (offensive) guard against Hobart," it said.
Lower numbers on the line changed Britton's senior season. Heading into Friday's Class 2A Sectional 25 home opener against River Forest, Britton has 55 tackles.
"He really stepped up," Gross said. "His tackles are a little lower but he's playing guard for us. Jonah is nothing but a pleasure to coach. He never says a cross word."
Britton is on the A-B Honor Roll and is a member of the National Honor Society. Britton said he was motivated by his brother Joshua, who was No. 2 in his class at Roosevelt and worked in Washington D.C. as a page for U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky for a year.
"He set the bar high," Jonah Britton said. "He motivated me to strive for excellence. I strive for an A in every class. I don't always get them but I try to do my best."
Britton and his teammates are excited by the season they've had. With a 6-3 record, Bowman football is guaranteed its first winning season.
"This has been a historic season," Britton said. "This is the first year we'll have a winning record. This team is different than the other Bowman teams. We know how to come together on Friday nights.
"We want to prove to everyone in Northwest Indiana we can beat these other teams. Our main goal right now is to be sectional champs."
Britton hopes to take his football game to Hampton University where he hopes to study kinesiology, civil engineering and public speaking.
Gross said every day this fall when the Eagles left the practice field they talked about one goal: winning the Sectional 25 championship. Last year in the sectional opener Rensselaer scored 52 in beating the Eagles.
"We've stepped up our defense this year," Gross said. "I told the guys, 'It's on you.' If we play good defense we know our offense is going to score."
Win or lose, Britton's future looks quite bright. His 3.4 GPA and his certificate with the National Honor Society is bigger than making big plays on both sides of the ball.
"If I sack the quarterback it's fun, but it only makes me happy for the moment," Britton said. "That certificate will follow me for my whole life and that's more important."
Along with becoming a two-way player this season, Britton volunteers at a Gary daycare where he helps younger students with their homework.
He loves being a mentor in his home town.
"I've always been taught it's important to give back," he said.