Next level at stake for Drake |

Next level at stake for Drake

Running back looking to extend career beyond high school

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

— As long as he can.

That’s how long Andrew Drake wants to continue playing football.

With his high school career over, Drake now is looking to take his game to the next level. And that means going to Sterling College in Kansas on Saturday to take his shot at playing for the small, NAIA Christian school.

With an enrollment of 650 full-time students, Drake sees the atmosphere as welcoming.

“I love the sport and didn’t want to give it up,” Drake said. “Last year, I didn’t play as well as I wanted to and I didn’t want to go out on that note. I want to continue playing football as long as I am physically able to.”

Drake’s quest to play in college started when he received a letter from a scouting director. Drake then began sending out films and going to more football camps.

Three schools in Kansas discovered Drake’s talent, but one stood out.

“Sterling college just seemed to be a perfect fit,” Drake said. “They were really persistent and kept contact to prove that they really wanted me to play for them.”

His inspiration to pursue this goal came from his two former coaches, Gary Torgenson and John Haddan.

“I look up to both of these men so much. They were always there for me during high school,” Drake said. “They both really pushed me to do my best and have a positive attitude.”

That positive attitude is something that has pushed him to train consistently during the summer.

“It is up to me to train and do all the workouts my coaches send me,” Drake said. “You either want it or you don’t.”

Drake apparently wants it.

This summer, he has been training religiously, lifting weights and running every day; it is a workout program that he said pushes him.

“I have learned new techniques and made changes to lifts that I have done in the past,” Drake said.

These new lifts have proven to him that there still are areas for improvement.

One being the strength of his legs.

“I am trying out for the running back position, (so) my legs definitely need to be strong,” Drake said. “But it is the next level of football and, to a certain degree, I need increase my strength in all aspects.”

His goal is to be a well-rounded football player.

Fall training camp starts Aug. 21, and Drake will continue to train until that time but believes it will still be a struggle.

“I think some players work so hard before they get there and think they are prepared,” Drake said. “I have trained and realize it is going to be tough. It is impossible to be completely prepared for something like this.”

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