Chardonnae Parker / Delta Managing Editor
As the football season came to an end, the team celebrated Senior Day before its final home game. As the seniors lined up to be recognized one two-time All-American, Drake Higgins, suited up for his final kick at Missouri Valley College.
“I know I have already accomplished more than anyone could have ever expected from me,” Higgins said. “I have shocked a lot of people. During shocking them I have shocked myself even.”
Higgins started at Missouri Valley College four years ago, originally on a baseball scholarship. He saw early on that maybe college baseball would not be what he thought. Higgins was a high school punter and quickly turned to his second skill like it was nothing.
“I headed into Head Coach Paul Troth’s office and by the end of the conversation he had a punter and I found myself as a new member of Missouri Valley’s football team,” Higgins said.
Over the next three years, Higgins would not only become the starting punter, but be exceptional at it. In his first year as the starting punter in 2017, Higgins ended ranking not only in the Heart of America Athletic Conference but ranking nationally as the number two punter. Higgins ranked for punter per yards earning 43.8 punts per game in Division I football. He also earned his first All- Division and first All-American honor.
Higgins did not stop there. He kept working and the next season, Higgins received a pair of honors once again, as he was named first team All-South Division and a became two time All American.
Higgins worked and perfected his punting craft and on Saturday November 16, Higgins lined up for his final punt on Senior Day.
Senior day has a lot that comes with it. You are surrounded by your family and friends. Basically, it’s almost like one last hooray. You almost want to put on your best performance for your final game of your career.
“It’s bittersweet,” Higgins said. “I’m going to miss it. I’ll miss playing with my friends, playing with Coach Troth, and especially coming to practice. We have an assistant coach named Coach [J.J.] Aller. He is a volunteer and he doesn’t get paid for anything. He drives up from Sedalia every day to help us…kickers and punters.”
Higgins could become a three time All-American. He leads the nation in punting and has punted 39 times this season with an average of 45.1 yards per punt. Higgins career long punt was 74 yards and season long punt was 71 yards, according to the NAIA stats.
Higgins ended the season still at the top of ranking in punting and says he is confident that he will All-American on this season. But he will miss his friends who are now brothers but will take some time for himself. He was honored as First Team All- South Division. And is one of the selected few to be invited to the senior bowl.
“I think I have exceeded everyone’s expectations of me and the ones I had for myself,” Higgins said.