Ennis’ QB Drake tops District 8-5A honors

Lions garner 16 total first-team selections in postseason vote of district coaches

Patty Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Collin Drake

In this weird and wacky football season, Ennis’ quarterback tops the list as the two-time MVP and first-team All-District QB for 2020 (and he was also the recipient of the same honors in 2019).

In the 10 games that Collin Drake started this season, he had 2,030 yards in passing, 140 completions out of 213 attempts, 28 touch downs, and 4 interceptions. In rushing the ball, he had 75 carries for 491 yards, and 9 total touchdowns. (One must keep in mind that Drake often only played 2 or 3 quarters in their 10 games, as most of the time their big score differential gave the coaches time to let the backup sophomore QB Jackson Gilkey gain more experience at the helm of the Lions offense.)

To express the challenges of this crazy COVID effect on fall football, Drake sums it up as follows: “The ‘lows’ of the COVID crazy season was the scheduling of games that went unplanned. Throughout the course of the season, we had to take off an extra week because of a canceled game, schedule a replacement game on short notice, and our district was split into zones, so our expected schedule at the beginning of the year was not the reality of the schedule we actually played. However, the positive aspect of the COVID crazy season was that we were blessed enough to be able to play football, regardless of our opponent. Many high schools in other states did not get the opportunity to do so, and for that we are grateful. And we were also very thankful that we didn’t have to miss one single game because of the Coronavirus.”

When asked about how he feels about the recognition and awards he has received, the winning quarterback says, “To me, district honors are a testament to a player’s hard work and success; however, everyone knows that it takes a group to be successful, even if there’s an individual award. It is special to be with the team when the all-district honors are announced and we are able to celebrate each other’s success.”

Also from Ennis, junior outside linebacker Eric Gonzalez was named Defensive Newcomer of the Year as well as a unanimous member of the first-team defense; and the Ennis staff was named Coach of the Year.

First-team selections also went to junior running back DeIvian Johnson, senior tight end Clayton Jenkins, senior wide receiver Laylon Spencer, and senior linemen Dorion Strawn, Drew Pierce and Tommorio Pace on offense. The Lions also garnered first-team defensive selections in senior defensive tackle DeRyous Stokes, junior defensive end Jarveon Williams, senior defensive end Michael Markgraf, senior inside linebacker Payton Chapman, senior outside linebacker Caden Hubbard, senior cornerback Dacoby Sterling, senior safety Stephon Townsend and junior safety Devion Beasley.

Drake moved to Ennis in 2018 in his junior year from McKinney where he had previously been the quarterback for the Boyd High School Broncos. But it didn’t take long for everyone in Ennis to recognize the new outstanding quarterback that had moved into town.

Drake recalls, “The most fun aspect of being a part of the Ennis Lions was building great relationships over the past two years. My family and I had relocated to Ennis, not knowing anyone really, but I will leave Ennis with many friends and people that I look up to. The playoff runs and winning games were a ton of fun, too, but I will remember most the relationships that were built.”

He continues, “The Lions middle linebacker, Payton Chapman, has been a great friend to me from day one. He was the first guy that reached out to me and introduced himself to me and had me meet the other guys. He has always had my back and helped me with anything I’ve needed. I’m very thankful for Payton in my life. He is an awesome football player, but more importantly, a great friend.”

Ennis’ head coach Sam Harrell remarks about the difference Drake has made as his quarterback in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, “When you have the “district MVP” leading your team, good things are going to happen, and we had that MVP and those good times the last two years. Collin Drake was a great QB and an outstanding leader for us. On the field, he was a very accurate passer, a tough runner, a fierce competitor, and a good decision maker. He was a great leader because he led by example and by serving — he was great in the weight room, great on the practice field, great in the classroom, and great in the community. His teammate respected him because they saw those traits in him every day. He never had a bad day!”

At this point in Drake’s senior year, he is uncertain as to whether or not he’ll be able to continue football as a collegiate player. Coach Sam Harrell comments, “I hope he gets an opportunity to play at the next level because he will bring all of those positives with him - he will make any team better. If he decides not to play, he will be successful in whatever field he selects, but I hope he chooses to play because he has so much to offer. Because of this unorthodox COVID year, college coaches have not been able to see Collin and our other players, so their exposure has been limited. I just hope someone gives him the opportunity, because he is a very talented QB and an outstanding young man.”

Playing football or not, Drake has already set his sights on continuing his education at a nice college or university. He would love the opportunity to attend some of his favorite schools — like Baylor University, the University of Georgia, or the University of Texas. He says, “I would love to play football in college if I am given the right opportunity; however, I’m still looking for the place where I can be prepared for my career AND get a great college football experience — if that is what my future holds for me.”

Drake explains, “Academically, I am going to major in business finance and will hopefully be going along a pre-med track. I desire to own my own business one day, as well as serve others, and so my academics in college will focus on the business and medical aspects of owning my own practice.”

In conclusion, Drake says, “From living in Ennis, I have learned the great value of community. People in Ennis love each other and support each other, especially the football team. It has been awesome being able to experience the whole town rallying around the Ennis Lions. I will never forget my days spent in my classes at Ennis High School and the football games I’ve been able to be a part of. I have many happy memories of being a Lion.”