Jacob Drahos is the epitome of hard work. Nobody in the Carson High football program has put more effort toward the game over the last three years.
Drahos has gone to camps, lifted weights and devoted any free time to improving himself. He has lived and breathed football. The result is he’s gone from a scrawny 6-foot 160-pounder to a 205-pound monster at defensive end.
He’s a big reason why Carson is on a two-game winning streak heading into tonight’s game (7 p.m.) at Spanish Springs. He’s an important member of a defense which has yielded 21 points the last two weeks in blowout wins over McQueen and North Valleys.
“He was super aggressive, but he had no clue how to play the game,” Carson coach Blair Roman said when asked about his first impressions of Drahos. “It took his whole freshman year to understand what was expected of him. His JV year he was a stud. He spot started on a team that went 8-1.
“As a junior he would have played more for me, but we had Ian Schulz and Brady Rivera at defensive end. He got playing time, but usually when the game was out of hand. Coach (Vic) Castro did a tremendous job of teaching him the importance of discipline, and that has carried over to this year. He has done a good job this year.”
Drahos has chalked up 22 tackles, second on the team to Ikela Lewis. The total is impressive when you consider defensive ends usually don’t have a ton of tackles. In Carson’s scheme, big tackle totals have usually been by the linebackers and safeties.
“I just go as hard as I can,” Drahos said. “If a play comes to me it comes to me. I’m good at reading blocks and what direction the runner is going based on the blocks. I seem to have a sixth sense.”
And, some pretty good technique. There are times he’s asked to hold the edge, and that means taking on a tight end and wingback on the same play. You don’t do that without strength and good technique.
“He has done a good job in the run game; done a good job of getting in on plays,” Roman said. “He uses his hands well to keep blockers off of him. The next step is working with him on pass rush. As we move ahead the whole defensive line will need to improve in pass rush and that will be a key by the end of the season.”
Besides Castro, the one coach who has helped Drahos immensely with his technique is former Wolf Pack assistant Jim House. Drahos attended the Big Man Basics the last two years.
“I went to the camp the past couple of summers,” Drahos said. “He focuses on what defensive linemen need, the agility and speed. It’s a technique based camp. My dad introduced me to coach House. He’s a great coach, and the camp has been very helpful.
“Most of my growth as a football player came between my sophomore and junior year, That’s when things started to click. I started to understand the game. Since then, I’ve been able to take everything I’ve learned and take it on the field. Coach Castro has been a big influence. He taught me technique and definitely taught me more discipline.”
Playing football and playing defensive end is in Drahos’ blood.
His dad, Mark, was an all-state player at Wooster in the late 80s, and later played for the legendary Chris Ault at the University of Nevada.
“He played at Wooster when they were good,” Jacob said. “He was all-league and all-state, and that’s how he ended up at Nevada.
“It’s like a competition. I’m trying to get where he was. I do want to play in college. I want to go somewhere and play. I’m trying to go somewhere big. Right now my first choice is Nevada. I want to study engineering, and their program is awesome. I want to get into mechanical or chemical engineering.”
Having a father who played at a high level can either be a curse or a blessing. In Drahos’ case it’s the latter. The elder Drahos has always been there.
“He got me in Pop Warner when I was younger,” Jacob said. “There were a couple of years where I didn’t want/like playing. When I was in eighth grade I got back into it because my friends wanted me to play..”
While Castro instructs him daily on the field, he gets some tutelage from his dad at home.
“He tells me what I need to work on,” Jacob said. “We watch film together all the time. He is pretty easy with me. He’s not hard on me at all.”
And, his dad has been instrumental in his physical growth.
High school kids are famous for eating a lot of junk food. Not Drahos.
“I’ve gained 50 pounds since the start of my junior year,” Drahos said. “My dad has me eating in two-hour increments. By the end of my junior year I was at 185. I want to be 225 by the end of this year.
“I’ve gained a lot of weight and I’ve gotten stronger and faster. I run a 4.87 40, and I’m proud of that. For a lineman that’s not easy to do.”