Double Duty Droke: 3D ignites Reed City

KICKING IT OLD SCHOOL: Ricky Droke does his kicking duties against Chippewa Hills. (Herald Review photo/Justin McKee)
KICKING IT OLD SCHOOL: Ricky Droke does his kicking duties against Chippewa Hills. (Herald Review photo/Justin McKee)

REED CITY – It’s been a busy fall sports season for Ricky Droke. Certainly busier than normal.

But Droke has been making key contributions for both the Coyote soccer team, as its leading scorer, and the football squad as its placekicker.

The soccer squad has been struggling below .500 for the season.

“How our warm up goes is is how our game goes,” Droke said. “We need good practices and we need to focus. We have a lot of young guys but we know what they can do and we can do it.”

He scored three goals Monday in a 4-0 win over Mason County Eastern and now has 17 to his credit this fall.

“I think he’s playing well,” said soccer coach Dave Mix. “Obviously, he does a lot of things that doesn’t go in the books. It’s his leadership both during practices and games.”

It’s Droke’s fourth varsity season with the soccer team but first with the football team. He’s been booting kickoffs, PATS and field goals.

“They’re helping me for getting my legs stronger,” he said.

Eric Reed, who played for the soccer team last fall, briefly did some kicking duties for the Coyote football squad.

“Coach (Monty) Price came and asked me and told me to talk to Eric Reed,” Droke said. “So I decided to.”

“It was kind of casual conversation,” Price said. “We always have had soccer players that have kicked for us. They always do a good job and give us a leg we normally wouldn’t have. For casual conversation, we picked his brain to see if he as interested at all in kicking the football for us and just coming to games and working out that arrangement with his soccer schedule.

“He seemed very excited; from there, he went to a football camp during the summer and is kicking for us the whole year.”

Droke also got Mix’s OK to do both sports.

Trying to work in the practices has been a struggle, Droke admitted.

“I try to practice two or three times a week with football,” he said. “Right after soccer practice, I go to football. About half an hour (is left of football practice).”

“It becomes an adjustment for him,” Mix said.

Droke has kicked in every football game so far. He likes his distance on kickoffs.

“When he wants to and connects with it, he can certainly put it in the end zone without question,” Price said. “Sometimes, I think he gets a little bit ahead of himself and rushes things. We ask him to do some things and keep it away from certain returners and that doesn’t always allow him to use his leg the way he wants to. He’s certainly been a blessing to our team and a welcomed addition and is serving a very good purpose for us.”

After the first five games, he had only missed three PATs.

He finally had a chance to kick a field goal last Friday against Chippewa Hills and booted a 21-yarder.

Price also retains the option for using Droke in other possible field goals kicking possibilities.

“There was an instance where we were almost willing to attempt something like 52 yards,” Price said. “He has a very strong leg. During the course of the game, we got more yards than we anticipated and didn’t have to do that. But we were getting him ready and at least talking to the coaches on the headsets about a possible field goal attempt from that distance.

“We think he’s a weapon. He’s certainly has a strong enough leg from 40 yards and maybe even 50. That gives us an option.”

His longest field goal boot in practice been 55 yards.

“I’m hoping to get a chance for a 40-yarder and show how my leg is,” said Droke, who also has had a chance to see the difference between kicking a football and soccer ball. “You have to keep soccer low, You have to keep football high. There’s a big difference.”

Against Chippewa Hills, Droke was 5-of-5 in PATs

“He’s made all but three,” Price said. “The three he missed was in the downpour in week three where it was a mess weatherwise.”

His only role in football has been kicking.

“I tried it in the fifth grade but didn’t like it so I went to soccer,” said Droke.

But he’s been enjoying it, especially with a Reed City team bidding for its second straight Central State Activities Association title and 9-0 regular season.

His decision to kick for the football team was made last school year, allowing Droke the chance to work on it during the summer.

“I went to two camps and they really helped me out,” Droke said.