Loss of graduate Carroll will be noticeable on Panthers’ rosters

Griff Servati,
The Van Alstyne Leader
Van Alstyne High School graduate Jake Carroll competed in five sports during his years as a Panther.

Graduation leaves holes to fill in rosters, and there is a large hole for the Van Alstyne Panthers to fill in the shoes of Jake Carroll.

In presenting Carroll with the Offensive MVP award for the 2019 season, head coach Mikeal Miller said, "There was no offense without Jake."

During his senior season, the teen ran for 1,132 yards and caught passes for 201 yards while averaging 8.6 yards per carrying and 13.4 yards per catch. He was selected All-District at running back and linebacker, and was an Academic All-State pick at running back.

Carroll is an All-Texomaland running back and was also on a state champion 4x400 meter relay team.

In June, during the All-Texomaland awards show, he was a finalist for the Offensive Player of the Year and Angler of the Year. Those two awards show the varied interests of this young man and highlight that anything that he is involved in, he does at the highest level.

Carroll was planning to compete in five different sports his senior season - football, baseball, track, fishing and golf. The majority of those sports’ seasons were cut short last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The teen was the lead-off runner for the state championship 4x400 relay team, who was expected to have a chance at winning back-to-back titles.

"The main thing that is on my mind when I'm in the blocks is that I have to get a good solid start so that I can put us ahead and try to hand off first every time,“ he said.

In May 2019, he did just that when he started the 3A state finals at the University of Texas’ Myers Stadium. After finishing his leg of the race, he watched his teammates secure the state championship.

"All the early mornings, late nights, ice baths, dieting, shin splints, and cramps - all worth it in the end,“ he said.

Hard work is something that was instilled in him by his parents.

"The main thing that my parents have instilled in me ever since I was little is the true value of hard work. If you work hard enough, you will be able to accomplish anything that you put your mind to,“ he said.

Standing in the Carroll family front yard in May for the school’s mobile sports awards, Coach Miller presented the teen with the Panther Pride award.

"When we are looking for the Panther Pride awardee, we look for the person that exemplifies what every kid should be,“ Miller said. ”Since I have been (at the school), I am not sure if anyone had the work ethic of this young man."

On Aug.11, Carroll is set to leave for Dordt University in Sioux City, Iowa, where he has signed to play football for the Defenders. The team plans to play its fall season with a delayed start.

Jake Carroll leaves large hole for the Van Alstyne Panthers to fill.