Believing In Native football players at Central Lakes College

From left are Adam Davis, #41, Brennan Corbine, #58, Hunter Powless, #65 and kneeling is CLC Coach Robb Kolodziej. (Photo courtesy of Robb Kolodziej.)

by Dan Ninham

I Believe In You. In Ojibwe it is “Gidebweyenimin” and in Cherokee it is “-agwohiyu nihi”. These are perhaps the most empowering words someone can say to another person.

To have someone say they believe in someone starts with the person believing in oneself.
Three young Native men had a different journey that ended up in the same place at the same time this season, at Central Lakes College (CLC) Football in Brainerd, Minnesota. They are striving to be where they want to go by being where they are now.

“This is a great story as our young men will serve as role models to other Native kids,” said Mary Sam, Central Lakes College Dean of Students who also supervises Raider Athletics.  “The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma should feel proud.”

The student athletes are Hunter Powless, offensive guard, and Brennan Corbine, middle linebacker. They are graduates of Ashland High School, in Ashland, Wisconsin, near the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Reservation in Odanah, Wisconsin. And Adam Davis, outside linebacker, is a graduate of Hulbert High School in Hulbert, Oklahoma, and is from the Cherokee Nation.

“I expect all three to be high impact players for us this fall,” said CLC Coach Robb Kolodziej.

Hunter Powless is the son of Peter and Lori Powless of Odanah, Wisconsin.
“I wanted to play junior college football because it can lead to more opportunities and the more opportunities you get the better,” said Hunter.

Hunter started playing football in the third grade and was on the varsity as a freshman. He was expected to quickly mature as a player. “Hunter was in the weight room every night after school,” stated Cody Bigboy-Powless, Hunter’s older brother.

“Hunter’s resiliency and his family values are a very big part of his upbringing. Our family faced many tragedies. Our Mom and Dad both dealt with cancer. He went through moments where he was forced to be strong during tough times,” added Cody.

Brennan Corbine is the son of Russ Denomie and Jamie Corbine of Ashland, Wisconsin.
“Brennan learned from the age of 3, when he joined our Bad River Healthy Lifestyles wrestling program, the discipline of years of rising at 4 am to make weigh-ins at 8 am and wrestle for the next 8 hours every Saturday from December to March, practicing 10 hours a week, and he learned sportsmanship, dedication, and drive. He ended his high school career with 98 wins.  His love for football began when he was in 2nd grade. He had a passion for it even that young,” said his mother Jamie Corbine.

“His dedication to his sports career is exemplified by his unparalleled prioritization of practice above other activities and fun events,” said his father Russ Denomie.

“Brennan and Hunter developed into outstanding leaders and did this in how they treated others, how hard they worked and the countless hours they put in to making themselves better,” said Coach Travis Larson at Ashland High School.

Adam Davis is the adopted son of Amanda Davis, stepson of Jerami Timmons, and grandson of Terri Jackson of Hulbert, Oklahoma.

“I came to CLC because I was cut from the Independence Community College (KS) team. I couldn’t stay healthy and was told I was too far behind my peers,” said Adam Davis. He played at Sterling College (KS) during the 2016 season, worked at a golf course for the Cherokee Nation in the fall of 2017, transferred to Independence Community College (KS) for the 2018 season, and now is at his third college in three years.

“I believe anybody can do anything they want to and we weren’t created to put limits on ourselves,” said Adam.

“He shows great determination to achieve his goals and pursue his dreams. Adam continued to believe in himself when others gave up on him,” said Terri Jackson, Adam’s Grandmother.

“Our goal here is to allow young men to grow mentally, physically and emotionally through athletics.  These young men have the right attitude and realize that football offers the opportunity to learn about failure and growth in a unique setting that will set them up for a lifetime of growth outside of athletics,” said Mary Sam.

To learn more about the Central Lakes College 2019-20 Football’s schedule, see: