10 Questions with Zack Pate
The Round Rock Dragons were thought to be in rebuilding mode last year. Instead they made it to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row and knocked off Pflugerville in the final week of the regular season. One of the stars of that team was Zack Pate, a two-time first team 14-5A all-district honoree, the 2007 14-5A Defensive MVP, 2007 All-Centex defensive back, who in racked up 282 tackles, forced 9 fumbles, and had 2 Ints in his junior and senior seasons.
Scoop: You leave Round Rock after an outstanding career in which you not only racked up numerous awards (see above, too many to re-list), but you also played some tailback and had 551 yds rushing and an impressive 8 yds per carry . What do you think your lasting memories of your high school career will be?
ZP: I would have to say that coming in as a Freshman was a big adjustment and being pulled up to Varsity as a Sophomore was learning period... how to play with the big boys! Through it all I learned the most important thing was learning to play as a team and not an individual player.
Scoop: You played both offense and defense. Which do you prefer and why?
ZP: Overall, I prefer defense because of its "bad boy" image. Defense does all the dirty work and doesn't get much recognition for it. Offense are the "glory boys". That is OK because a real Defensive player doesn't need the spotlight on them to do their job. I enjoy making the plays that change the game.
Scoop: Compare your thoughts after these two games: the win over eventual state runner-up Pflugerville Panthers in the final week of district allowing RR to make the playoffs, and the close playoff loss to Dallas Skyline in the third round of the playoffs.
ZP: I would have to say the Pflugerville game was more of an expectation to win. With all of the hard work we put into the pregame it was "in the bag" or more of a self fulfilling prophecy that we were going to win. Our guys knew we had to take care of business in order to keep our dreams of playoffs alive. Skyline, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. To go into the game knowing you can beat your opponent but you just didn't do it; made it really bad. We knew that our team had more potential to go further in the playoff than Skyline did. To know that we could have beat them... to know we should have beat them... that will always be in my mind. We made it this far 2 years in a row and our team goal was to win and take it all the way to State.
Scoop: Who was the best player you saw this year on an opposing team? Do you study what they do on the field that makes them successful?
ZP: The best player I was up against this year was Troy Stoudermire (Skyline). A lot of the plays he made were on his feet. He was very illusive and if you weren't on your toes in a 1x1 situation your going to get caught trying to make the tackle on him. You had to watch him really close.
Scoop: What player, college or pro, do you play most like?
ZP: Bob Sanders - FS of Indianapolis Colts. Because for one, we are the same size (5'8") and it doesn't affect the way he plays and it certainly doesn't affect me either. He is ruthless! You can't let little things like size affect the way you play. It is more about what is inside and not what is outside. Everyone wishes they had more height or was stronger or faster but you have to play with what God gave you and learn to perfect that. He goes above and beyond when making plays. I feel I do the same.
Scoop: If I'm a coach, why would I want a person like you on my team? What are your best qualities?
ZP: If I was a coach I would look for guys like me to fill my team. I bring a lot of hard work to the table. Everything I do I'm sold-out 100% to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I have good leadership skills and leadership is not something you just have but something you have learned from others. I'm all about competing, I don't want to just play, I want to play to win. I don't give up easy or lay down when things start to get hard.
Scoop: Have you decided on a major for college? What kind of career would you like to have?
ZP: Major in kinesiology so I can be a Coach. I would like have a positive impact in other peoples lives like my coaches have done for me. I want to give back to others and help them be more successful in their careers no matter what they choose.
Scoop: Have any LSC schools been recruiting you? Do you have a favorite?
ZP: Yes, Abilene Christian, Angelo State and Tarleton. I have visited Angelo and will be going to Tarleton in the next week. Abilene Christian came by school and talked with me the other day. Right now, I don't have a favorite.
Scoop: What teammates do you think are capable of playing college ball but are being overlooked?
ZP: There are 2 that come to mind, Patrick Acosta and Mike Kelley. If I had to pick someone that had the same mentality, work ethic and desire about football as me it would be Mike Kelley. He is a tough Linebacker. Pat is an athlete. He can adapt to play several positions because he is a true student of the game.
Scoop: Any advice for guys coming up next year on how to prepare themselves for college, both on the field and in the classroom?
ZP: Don't wait till your Senior year to realize you have to work hard! Start your 9th grade! You should use the same intensity that you play football with in the classroom on your school work. Be prepared to dedicate yourself through hard work giving 110% to your athletic and mental development. Football and class work go hand in hand. You won't be successful in one with out being successful in the other.
Thanks Zack, best of luck to you.