If you watched a Winona football game last season, chances are you saw Jacob Stanislawski making an impact. The senior lineman was a two-way starter in the trenches for the Winhawks. Stanislawski was a Mr. Football finalist and Associated Press…
If you watched a Winona football game last season, chances are you saw Jacob Stanislawski making an impact.
The senior lineman was a two-way starter in the trenches for the Winhawks. Stanislawski was a Mr. Football finalist and Associated Press All-State first team selection following the season. He also earned Big Southeast All-District honors in both his junior and season campaigns and was also the blue subdistrict Lineman of the Year.
“He plays with a confidence in himself and believes in his teammates,” said Winona coach John Casselius. “He uses his hands well and plays with great leverage.”
He was the team’s best blocker, routinely putting opposing defenders on their backs from his guard position. He was also the anchor of a tough defensive line, finishing with 71 tackles, including 11 for loss, and 7.5 sacks, leading the team to a state championship berth and Class AAAA runner-up finish.
The Winhawks run to U.S. Bank Stadium was historic. It’d been almost 30 years since Winona played in the program’s only Prep Bowl, and although they came up short against Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Stanislawski said it was a season he’d never forget because of the bond the team had with each other, and the entire community.
“This season was a statement for the Winona program,” Stanislawski said via email. “We had a bunch of motivated guys who put it all out on the line to do whatever was necessary to win.”
Whether it was hard work in the weight room or an extra film session, Casselius said the 270-pounder was always willing to put in extra work to improve as a player. He also credited his stamina and durability – Stanislawski never missed an offensive snap as a senior – as a reason for his success, which is something the Winhawks leader said would carry over to the next level.
“[He has] a motor and ability to play an entire game and make an impact from the first snap to the last snap … IRONMAN!” Casselius said via email.
Stanislawski, who said his academic interests include exercise science and psychology, received a scholarship offer from Winona State late last year. He also has a preferred walk-on spot with the University of Minnesota, but said he didn’t have a favorite between those two or any other programs recruiting him.
He did know, however, what he wanted in a college team.
“A group of guys who play for the man next to him and a team looking to win,” Stanislawski said. “I would want a program in which they never give up and strive to be the best they can.”
His former high school coach said wherever Stanislawski ends up will be getting a kid who’s always smiling and leading by example.
“He is a high character kid who loves the game of football and loves to compete,” Casselius said.