David Kroll is built like a mastiff with brawny shoulders and hips, mean hands and a deep stare. And when South Lakes’ 6-foot-6, 315-pound right tackle comes barreling down at defenders, they often get out of the way in the interest of self-preservation.
“Once you just start rolling, especially when I’m pulling, linebackers seem to fall over when I barely touch them,” he said. “It makes things easier.”
That glancing blow feels like a lot more to average-sized high schoolers, Seahawks Coach Trey Taylor said.
“If you look at his highlight film right now,” he said, “he’s just physically dominating kids.”
Across the entire region, there aren’t more than a handful of football players the size of Kroll, who is committed to the University of Richmond, and with equal skill.
Kroll is the size of an NFL lineman give or take a few pounds. South Lakes (8-1) uses him as a lead blocker on offense for tailbacks Spencer Alston and Albert Mensah. On defense, he’s the Seahawks’ nose tackle, disrupting the center of opposing offensive lines and drawing two and sometimes three blockers.
But that kind of success is more than a function of sheer size, Taylor said. His freshman year, Kroll stood 6 feet 2 with a frame everyone knew was only going to get bigger. South Lakes’ football program at the time was a doormat. Taylor, in his first season, saw a potential linchpin for his offensive line.
Kroll had set a goal for himself of earning a college football scholarship. He went to Taylor and asked for a workout regimen to help him get there. Like every high school lineman, he needed to get stronger. His endurance needed work. His footwork had a long way to go.
Coaches have these conversations with players about improvement all the time, Taylor said. Not many attack the tasks with the same vigor as Kroll.
“Seeing him in the weight room,” Taylor said, you know you’re dealing with a different kind of kid.”
He worked out with the football team in the offseason during its three days of weight training. The remaining two, he went to a personal trainer. On the weekends, he went to college camps with his father.
“It’s five days of grind,” he said. He keeps up the same routine during football season.
Now South Lakes, fresh off a 38-28 loss to Hayfield, is ready for a postseason run, and Kroll is out in front leading the Seahawks.
“Not only is he a physical presence on the field, but he’s a mental leader for our team,” Taylor said. “Kids have so much respect for what he’s able to do on the field.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 945
Yards of offense accumulated between Hayfield and South Lakes on Friday. The Hawks trumped the Seahawks, 38-28, in a barnburner. Hayfield quarterback Jacob Keeney threw for 491 yards and two scores and rushed for 28 yards and another touchdown.