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Physical education

Saugus High’s Kollin Depew has been learning quickly on the job

Posted: December 4, 2008 9:53 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Saugus High senior football player Kollin Depew has rushed for 242 yards and has 451 receiving yards this season. Depew has also been a force on defense and special teams.

 
When Rich Bahr got the call he was going to be the head coach for Saugus’ junior varsity football team in 2005, he immediately went into recruitment mode.

Bahr got a tip from a colleague, who taught physical education, about a student in one of his classes that was very athletic.

It wasn’t long before Bahr went to see Kollin Depew.

In his freshman P.E. class, he was a stand-out athlete.

When Bahr saw Depew playing 3-on-3 half-court basketball, his eyebrows raised.

Depew’s looks were deceiving, though.

“He looked like he rode skateboards or motorcycles,” Bahr says. “But when I saw his reaction time and anticipation, I knew he was very athletic.”

Bahr invited Depew to try out for the next season’s JV team.

Depew obliged.

He had never picked up a football prior to his summer workout with the team.

Making the Centurions’ football team never crossed his mind.

Unaware of his own talent, Depew found himself not only making the team, but he became a starter on both offense and defense. He even finished his first year of football as the offense’s most valuable player.

“I’ve been stuck on the football field ever since,” Depew says.

His preference, however was on the offensive side of the ball.

“I’d rather have people chasing me,” he says. “I don’t like chasing other people.”

Since his football debut that sophomore year, Depew has been a factor for the Saugus football program.

As a second-year varsity starter, Depew has had a breakout season in 2008.

With teammates Desi Rodriguez and Ryan Zirbel getting the majority of the recognition, Depew is considered the Centurions’ No. 3 offensive weapon, or as he described, the team’s “secret weapon.”
“We sort of think of him as our X-factor,” says Saugus head coach Jason Bornn. “He’s a playmaker on both offense and defense. If we have a critical play we plug him in and he’s our go-to guy.”

Depew is second on the depth chart at running back. The 5-foot-10-inch 170-pounder also puts up numbers as a slot receiver.

He says his progress this season started with the improvement in his work ethic.

His personal goals coming into this season included scoring more touchdowns and getting more carries.
Both have come to fruition.

Depew exceeded his seven receptions for 42 yards and 11 carries for 56 yards last season. He traded those numbers in for this year’s 32 receptions for 451 yards and 37 carries for 242 yards this season.

He has also scored 10 touchdowns. Depew had one last year.

“He takes the pressure off of Desi and I,” Zirbel says. “When Kollin steps in and makes a big play, he gets the team going.”

Against Righetti in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, Depew was the lead blitzer on defense, recovered an onside kick and gave Saugus better field position as a returner on special teams and he caught a touchdown pass on offense.

And as the team faces its toughest opponent yet in St. Bonaventure tonight, Depew recalls last season’s 55-36 loss to the Seraphs in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals.

Most notably about that contest — Depew wasn’t a part of it.

Having been deemed academically ineligible toward the latter part of the regular season, Depew was forced to stand the sidelines while his team’s season came to an end.

Frustrated with the outcome of his junior season, Depew was determined to improve in the classroom and on the field.

“I was disappointed not just because I let myself down, but I knew I was letting the team down,” Depew says. “It was hard because I couldn’t be out there helping the team out.”

Depew has used his senior season as redemption.

Bornn said Depew is questionable for tonight’s game due to a shoulder injury.

However, in a short period of time, football has become more than just a hobby for Depew — it’s a passion.

With Zirbel not 100 percent either, due to an ankle injury, Depew may have to carry a lot of the offensive load.

His journey won’t allow him to sit back and just watch. He has worked too hard for this.

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