A leader behind the scenes

Submitted to PrepsKC

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: September 2, 2015 - 7:45 AM

Last summer the Sachen family in Leavenworth went through a big change. The father Sean was the head football coach at a small private school Immaculata, but he accepted a position at Leavenworth High School on Mark Littrell’s football staff for the 2014-15 school year.

That job change meant that Sean’s son Drew would attend Leavenworth High School that fall. He would also play football there and after a strong sophomore season at Immaculata, Drew looked to be an impact player for Leavenworth.

Drew made an impact, a big impact, but it wasn’t in a way most people would think. Immaculata challenged Drew’s move and the Kansas State High School Activities Association ruled that he would not be eligible for the first seven games of the season.

So Leavenworth started the season with one of its most talented players relegated to the sideline. While some young athletes would just bide their time waiting for their varsity chance, Drew Sachen jumped into the less glamourous role of junior varsity quarterback and scout team linebacker.

Littrell said Drew worked hard to make his team better even though he couldn’t be out there on Friday nights until late in the season.

“He was our JV quarterback and did a great job,” Littrell said. “The thing that stood out about Drew after I hired his dad and he found out he was going to have to sit out those 18 weeks, he worked hard and never complained. When we started the season he was one of those kids that when we needed a scout team player; he would step up. It didn’t matter if we needed a scout team quarterback or a scout team running back; he went. Same way on defense; he did those things.”

Sitting on the sideline isn’t easy, especially when you have the talent to make an impact for your team in one of the toughest conferences in the state of Kansas. Drew said he didn’t like sitting out, but he just wanted to help his team.

“I focused on being the best teammate I could,” Drew Sachen said. “I was trying to be on every scout team I could so I could help the player across from me be a better player for Friday nights.

“I feel like there is a bigger picture. I feel like I would represent the school or the town and even other players on the team so we can be successful as a team. I just want to do whatever I can to make others successful.”

When he did return against Washington he became an added offensive weapon. In the final four games of the season Drew rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. He also caught two passes and had two pass attempts.

The Pioneers’ late season run, that included four straight wins that ended in the Class 5A quarterfinals, was a preview of things to come. Drew will be a big part of what Leavenworth does this year as he moves into the starting quarterback position.

Littrell said the leadership he showed while he was ineligible for varsity play has carried over to this year when he will be asked to trigger the Pioneers offense. 

“He’s a great kid and a great young man and a hard worker,” Littrell said. ““It’s just a great example to the rest of the team of being humble and coming in and doing the right thing. That’s why he is one of our leaders. The players have a lot of respect for him and they see that. He is one of the first guys in the weight room in the summer. He’s not afraid to go give a kid a ride when they need it. He does so many things.”

While all of this was going on, Drew was still playing football and playing for his father. That can sometimes be a complicated relationship. Sean said that Drew handled the time off with great poise and it made him proud as a father and a coach.

“As a dad it is a pretty cool deal,” Sean Sachen said. “He grew up quite a bit. He’s been a pretty good player his whole life. Being put in that situation and the way he handled it, I don’t know how many kids could do that.

“Being the coach’s kid he understands all the ins and outs. He hears mom and dad talk about being coachable and being a good teammate and doing things other than just being the star player. Anything he can do to help his team-- he’s always heard that stuff. He went out there on every scout team and did everything he could and you have to give him a lot of credit for that kind of stuff.”

After finishing 6-6 with a win in the playoffs, it could be a breakout year for Leavenworth. If that does happen, look for Drew Sachen to be a big part of the Pioneers success.