St. Mary’s Griffin puts in the work to dominate 

BY DWAIN SPILLMAN JR., Journal Sports  

Domination is his mission. 

Paying the price and putting in the time to accomplish that expected goal is not a problem for St. Mary’s Drake Griffin in his preparation to take the football field each and every week. 

“I just want to dominate,” Griffin said. “I want to make sure that I am physically and mentally prepared to dominate the team that we are playing. Whether it’s watching film, lifting weights, working on agility, whatever it is, I just want to be prepared to dominate and help my team any way that I can.” 

The Tiger defensive end/tight end has made those major contributions this season. Griffin and his teammates head into the 2022 postseason in the Division IV Select playoff bracket as the No. 5 seed after posting an 8-1 overall record and reigning as District 3-1A champions after plowing through the district slate undefeated.  

The Tigers play at home Friday evening at 5 o’clock in Turpin Stadium against Hanson Memorial in a second-round game. SMHS had a bye last week as one of the top seeds.

Consider that most all of St. Mary’s starters have played little more than one half in each of the nine regular season contests this season because the Tigers have dominated their opponents – to the tune of a more than 30-point victory margin per game. 

On defense, Griffin has 47.5 total tackles, 40 of them solo, with nine sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. He has forced one fumble while recovering three more.  

On offense, the dominator has amassed 432 yards rushing and four touchdowns on just 49 attempts. Griffin has also collected seven receptions from Tiger passers for 82 yards and an additional score. 

“He’s a workhorse,” St. Mary’s coach Aaron York said of his junior standout. “He is always the first one here to work and the last one to leave. He’s always working.” 

“No matter where we need him on the field, he does whatever we need him to do. I believe he has played just about every position all over the field for us this year. His motor is always running. His motor just runs at a different level. Drake is just a football player and loves everything about the game. He really makes our team go on both sides of the ball.” 

Griffin loves football. But, there is more to life than just dominating pigskin opponents. At least a little more. He also loves hunting and fishing when the rare opportunity to get some R&R arises.  

He is also a mainstay on the Tiger baseball and powerlifting teams while taking honors level classes in the hallowed halls of the East Fifth Street schoolhouse.  

The Tiger student-athlete thanked his coaching staff and family for all of the support they have given to him during his time at St. Mary’s. 

“The coaches put in so much of their own time to help us be successful,” he said. “And, it means everything to me to have my family come out every game to support me. I don’t believe my mom has ever missed a game.” 

The Tigers workhorse also took time to reflect on the special season he and the Tigers have enjoyed in 2022.  

“I don’t know if it’s because we are doing really well this year or whether it’s because our seniors are more focused and mature than ever,” Griffin said. “The seniors just do a great job on keeping us on the same page. And, everyone on the team has been willing to put in the extra work this year, and it has been paying off.” 

Griffin is also focused and preparing for his future. He has more than legitimate ambitions to play the sport he dearly loves at the collegiate level. Griffin already possesses a solid offer from Southern Arkansas University but has made official visits to Lamar, Louisiana-Monroe, Northwestern State, Kansas State and Mississippi State.  

He and his family will have time to focus on playing at the next level when that appropriate time comes.  

Until then and even after then, he will continue to prepare himself for the next great chapter in his life — both in and out of the classroom. 

“I want to play at the next level,” Griffin said. “I enjoy everything about the game. I want to play as long as I can and at the highest level that I can.” 

Without any doubt, Griffin will continue his mission to dominate opponents on the field and in life.