The Press Newspaper
Northwood High School’s drama department put the word out three years ago: it needed someone to play the “beast” in the school’s spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”
The role called for some acting chops, and it would also require the actor to sing three solos. Cue offensive lineman Luke Laviolette, then a sophomore.
“I said I would do it,” Laviolette said. “I (also) did it the next two years. I just did that because it was fun. I didn’t do it for any other reason. It was good to get out of my element. I didn’t really ever talk to the kids who were in musicals. It was nice to make new friends.”
And what about those solos?
“I did alright, I guess,” Laviolette said.
It’s safe to say that the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Laviolette didn’t make many friends under the lights on Friday nights last fall.
After starting part-time as a junior, Laviolette stepped into a starting role on coach Ken James’ varsity squad last season and went on to earn first-team All-Toledo Area Athletic Conference and honorable mention all-district honors at offensive tackle. He also served as a team captain.
“He’s just what you'd expect for his size,” James said. “He was a very physical run blocker, but he also had surprising agility for his size. He's a great person to have in the school. He's involved in a variety of activities and he was also a great teammate, frequently spending time with the underclassmen and helping us develop great team chemistry. He developed into a physical player.”
Laviolette, 17, whose father, Tony, played football at Northwood and later at Sacramento State (Calif.) University, will follow in his dad’s footsteps into the college football ranks. On March 21, he signed a letter of intent to play at Tiffin University in 2014.
“I was really happy I got it over with,” said Laviolette, who plans to study nursing at TU. “It was just stressful on me and my family. It was very exciting, knowing that a college wanted me to play there.”
The Dragons compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and are coached by fourth-year coach Gary Goff. Tiffin finished 2-9 and 1-8 in the GLIAC last season.
“They were the first ones that recruited me in Division II,” Laviolette said. “I like the atmosphere there, and I can get playing time there early if I work hard. It was between them and Findlay. I really got to know the (Tiffin) coaches a lot better. They were all friendly and acted like they were my family, even when I wasn’t going there yet.”
Laviolette, who played both guard and tackle as a junior and senior, said he was not recruited to play any one position on the offensive line.
“They recruited me as an offensive lineman,” Laviolette said. “I could play center, guard or tackle. Sophomore year was the last year I played center. I could play it if I need to.”
Laviolette said he will report to Tiffin on June 2, one day after his high school graduation.
“I like that,” he said. “I want to go down there and meet my teammates and start working out.”