By Kevin Eickman
The Milford 12th Man Gridiron Club has announced their inductees for the the class of 2016 . This year’s class will include Bill Strickland, Jason Kollock, Clay Turner and Chris Drummond. This week the focus will turn to Milford graduate Jason Kollock. A key member of the 2008 Division II State Championship team, Kollock played linebacker and running back for the Buccaneers. Kollock was named All-Conference 1st team twice, 2nd team once and 1st team All-State in his senior season.
While memories may fade, the video footage of Kollock’s high school football career and the 2008 season does not. The footage will remind viewers of just how gifted a player Kollock was. Some of the first reminders are of the ferocity of his play, the gift he had for seeking out a ball carrier, closing the gap and tackling his opponent. The second thing is just how good a defensive line he had playing in front of him. “I can tell you, those guys up front really made me look good. The defensive front that we had was fantastic,” Kollock stated.
One of the players on that defensive front was Chris Drummond, who will be joining Kollock as the first members of the 2008 team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. When asked about being selected to the Hall, Kollock offered an answer you do not hear very often. “Honestly, I was almost disappointed. I thought that that whole team would be inducted before any individuals were recognized,” Kollock said. “That was the thing about that team, nobody did anything to make themselves look good, and we all did our jobs because we knew that if we did our jobs we would win. In the end however, I am truly honored to be recognized.”
While many people may have been surprised by the success of the 2008 squad, do not count Kollock among them. “We were really starting to see it the year before, we knew that we had the makings of something special when we went 6-4. We knew that we would lose some guys to graduation, but we also knew that we he had guys coming up that could get the job done,” commented Kollock. “When you took a look at our running game, with Brandon LeGrand, Devon Sivels and with R.J. Robinson moving into the district, we knew we would be able to move the football and control the line of scrimmage.” Kollock went on to praise that offensive line, “When you take a look at how guys like Ryan Deeney, Alex Bell and the rest of the guys up front, it’s amazing the type of talent we had up front.”
Speaking with former Buccaneers coach Mike Tkach, it was clear that he had a great deal of admiration for Kollock. “There is so much to say about this young man, it’s incredibly hard to know where to begin. I would guess the first thing is what kind of a great person he is,” said Tkach. “Over the years our friendship has continued to grow, it really is a pleasure to be able to consider him a friend.” When the subject of football came up, Tkach offered a considerable amount of praise “He was the most coachable player I ever had, I can’t begin to describe how easy he was to coach. It was his natural instinct for the game that really set him apart from the rest. He had a nose for the ball and tremendous closing speed, plus so many other things that you simply can’t teach.”
Nobody does it by themselves and in Kollock’s case he was very thankful for all that his father had done for him. “There is no way I can possibly thank him for all he did for me. He would leave for work early in the morning, work all day and somehow always find time for me,” Kollock said. “Whatever I needed I would have, coaching, equipment, whatever, he made sure I had what I needed to succeed. It was not just about succeeding in athletics, it was about making sure I was ready to succeed in life,” Kollock stated. “I only hope that if and when I have a family, I can be as much to them as he was to me.”
In addition to football, Kollock was also part of the 2009 wrestling team that won the State Title. To hear Kollock tell the story however, it really was not part of his plan. “Wrestling really wasn’t my thing, but coach Parsley sad he needed a body so they wouldn’t forfeit at 170 pounds. So I qualified as basically a place holder,” Kollock said. “It turned out that my match would be the last match and we needed it to win the title. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get a pin late in the match and we won, it was crazy.”
Following his graduation from Milford, Kollock continued following his passion for football. After playing two years at a junior college in California, Kollock enrolled and played football for his final two years at Florida Tech. While at Florida Tech, Kollock earned his Bachelors in Business Administration.