Article reprinted courtesy of Fargo Forum and reporter Eric Peterson.
MOORHEAD---When Concordia defensive lineman Gunnar Kollman grabbed Addy Johnson's hand last Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium, Johnson knew something significant was about the happen.
"What are you doing?" Johnson said in a video that captured the moment.
The rest was a blur for Johnson.
The 6-foot, 260-pound Kollman got on one knee, while taking an engagement ring from his helmet, moments after the Cobbers earned a victory against Hamline. Fans in the stands cheered and Kollman's football teammates jumped up and down in jubilation as Kollman proposed to his longtime girlfriend.
She said yes.
"It was better than any other (proposal) video on Pinterest or anything else that I've ever seen," said Johnson, who said she's a big fan of public proposals.
The major life event also started one of the bigger weeks in Kollman's Concordia football career. The Cobbers host No. 3-ranked St. Thomas at 1:10 p.m. Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
The Cobbers (3-1, 2-0 MIAC) haven't defeated St. Thomas (3-0, 1-0) since 2007. The Tommies have won the past 10 meetings with Concordia.
"Every game matters just as much as the other, but there are a couple that you just look forward to," said Kollman, a Fargo Davies graduate. "I personally don't try to build it up too much. It does add a little bit even if you try to contain it."
Kollman said he first approached Cobbers head coach Terry Horan about his proposal plans during fall camp, and Horan gave the OK. Kollman told his teammates last Friday so they weren't caught off guard. Kollman also alerted his family and Johnson's family of his plans.
"It was kind of funny how she didn't even know because a lot of our friends from high school just so happened to all come to this one game," Kollman said.
In hindsight, Johnson said she should have known something was in the works with the amount of family and friends at the game.
"Everyone was there," Johnson said. "He really threw me for a loop. I just had no idea. He played it so cool."
Kollman said he kept the engagement ring in his locker during the first half of the Hamline game. At halftime, he gave the ring to sophomore running back Zach Wolf, who was not dressed for the game.
Prior to the postgame handshake, Wolf gave the ring to Kollman, who then put it in his helmet. Like the team usually does after games, it huddled with Horan on the track in front of the student section. Instead of talking about the game, Horan made sure Kollman was ready to propose.
"I said 'Well big fella, are you ready to go?' And he just had this grin on his face," Horan said. "I think it made things real. Football is important and it's a big deal for us, but having something like this made it for a great collegiate-type day."
After the team broke the huddle, Kollman found Johnson, grabbed her hand and proposed. She put her hands over her face, overcome with emotion in the moment.
"I was shocked," Johnson said. "I really didn't know what was going on and I didn't remember much until I went back and watched the video. ... I don't know if I even had time to be nervous or be anything."
Johnson said her favorite part of watching the video was seeing how excited Kollman's teammates were.
"It was so special and really meant so much to see how excited they got," Johnson said. "You could just feel the love and support."
Johnson and Kollman have been dating for nearly seven years, starting in high school at Fargo Davies. Johnson said watching Kollman's football career has been a big part of their relationship so it was a fitting venue for the proposal. Johnson added Kollman supported her when she competed on dance teams in both high school and in college.
"It means so much to the both of us," said Johnson, who was on the North Dakota State dance team for two years. "There is something about watching someone you care about doing something that they absolutely love."
Both Johnson and Kollman are on track to graduate from Concordia in the spring.
Johnson said she has hinted in the past to Kollman that she wanted a public proposal. He delivered while keeping it a surprise.
"I was excited while it was happening, he actually listened," Johnson said with a laugh. "I love surprises. I love public proposals. Not only for us to share, but our family and friends. ... I just loved it."