Richmond-Burton's Dalton Wood, the 2019 Northwest Herald Football Player of the Year, will play at NCAA Division III University of Dubuque.
Richmond-Burton's Dalton Wood, the 2019 Northwest Herald Football Player of the Year, will play at NCAA Division III University of Dubuque. — Photo by Matt Apgar mapgar@shawmedia.com

University of Dubuque football coach Stan Zweifel’s tight connection with a certain Richmond-Burton family landed the Spartans one of the Rockets’ top players in school history.

Dalton Wood, a fullback-linebacker who was 2019 Northwest Herald Player of the Year, announced via Twitter on Saturday that he will attend the NCAA Division III school in northeastern Iowa to play football.

Before taking over as Dubuque head coach, Zweifel was offensive coordinator at Wisconsin-Whitewater from 1990 through 2006. Steve Wood, Dalton’s father and former head coach at Grayslake North, had worked Whitewater camps earlier in his coaching career and became friends with Zweifel.

“The coaching staff all just seemed like really great guys,” Dalton Wood said. “My dad knows the head coach and loves him, so that made the decision easier.”

Wood chose Dubuque, which has had only one losing season in the past 10 years, over Carthage and Wisconsin-Platteville. Zweifel has been the Spartans' head coach since 2009.

Wood helped R-B win the Class 4A state championship and complete its first 14-0 season. He rushed for an area-best 1,723 yards and 34 touchdowns, and he topped the Rockets with 94 tackles, along with three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.

Wood was voted by Kishwaukee River Conference coaches as both Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in their league. He was a Class 4A Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-Stater.

Wood was a three-year starter for the Rockets and competes in three sports: football, wrestling and baseball. He was a Class 2A state qualifier at 182 pounds in wrestling and narrowly missed winning a state medal. He was a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection in baseball as a sophomore and honorable mention as a junior.