DURANT — Gavin Blake is excited for life in a bigger city.
But as the latest signee to the Iowa Western Community College football program, he's also got bigger aspirations to play the game he loves.
Blake made his decision to join the Reivers official at a signing ceremony today at Durant High School, and he hopes to follow in the footsteps of numerous Iowa Western players who have gone on to play at a wide variety of schools in all major collegiate divisions.
"That's what I'm really looking forward to doing," said Blake, who noted he'll be pursuing a physical education major. "Even if I go somewhere else [that isn't Division I], being on a football scholarship, that's good enough for me."
Blake, son of Samantha Kaufmann and the late Jayson Blake, led Durant in tackles in his junior and senior seasons, with 106.5 and 95.0 tackles, respectively. He also picked up 15 sacks over that two-season period.
A three-year varsity player for the Wildcats, Blake has earned this opportunity, Durant coach Greg White said.
"He's worked hard all four years," he added. "I remember as a freshman how small he was and how he just kept growing and growing every year, getting faster and faster."
Though Blake was also the team's leading rusher this season with 822 yards rushing and four touchdowns, the Reivers are looking at Blake for his defensive capabilities, particularly at the linebacker or safety positions.
He noted that his biggest asset to his continuing to play football at a high level was because of the experience he got on both sides of the football in Durant.
"When you keep playing there [at the varsity level], it's a lot better and you can get something better going on football," Blake said.
White said that the biggest boon for Blake's success as a player was allowing him to be a "great athlete in space" at the linebacker position and utilizing him in a more wide-open spread offense that White instituted for his team.
"We were pretty excited about how fast he learned all that stuff and just how much of a competitor he was," White said. "I think him and [teammate] Brandon Dykes pushed each other there in the middle and in the backfield and on defense, and I think that's one of the things that just makes great athletes even greater.
"For Durant football, it's just another feather in the cap for the school and the football program. ... If he works hard, he could do some great things there and get on to the next level, that opportunity is definitely in front of him."