MERRILLVILLE | A few years ago Andrean's high-powered offense was running plays against the "scout team." Things were not going the way 59ers' coach Phil Mason wanted.
No, not at all.
A skinny, little kid kept messing up the varsity's plans of crossing the end zone and doing a little dancing.
"I was standing there saying, 'No way, no way,'" Mason said. "There was no way this kid is going to help us on varsity. There's no way this kid is going to start for us."
Well, the 5-foot-8, 155-pound Mark Dravet is now in his third year starting as an Andrean defensive back. And the entire coaching staff laughed when talking about the numbers to the right of his name on the roster.
"That's generous," Mason said. "The 155 is very generous. The unique thing about him is he doesn't look like a football player."
Andrean (9-2) will host Rensselaer (6-5) in Friday's Class 2A Sectional 25 championship game.
"I started playing football when I was 6," Dravet said after Monday's practice. "At the beginning it was hard. I was always smaller than every receiver I went up against."
Dravet has 39 tackles, three interceptions and three tackles for loss. He leads the 59ers with 13 pass deflections.
His two older brothers -- George (2007) and Tim (2008) -- played and graduated from Andrean. The younger Dravet said his brothers were great teachers and motivators.
That's helped Mason see that size and brute force isn't everything.
"Sometimes when he gets up after making a play you never know if he's hurt or not," Mason said. "He just plays way beyond what you think he's capable of doing."
Beyond football, Dravet is busy. He's a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, YARC (Youth Association for Retarded Children), the school yearbook and he is also a student ambassador.
His family is deeply committed to their church, St. Andrew's in Merrillville.
"When you walk in our house the first thing you see if a three-foot cross," Dravet said. "My mom keeps that tradition alive in our family.
"Our faith is very important to us."
The 59ers are still trying to get a big monkey of their back, last year's loss to Wheeler in the 2A sectional opener. They need one more win to get the sectional championship they want back.
Four good quarters against a dangerous Bombers team is needed for that.
"Last year was sad," Dravet said. "I was really close to all those seniors. That was the greatest defensive team I ever played with. Our defense has worked hard to get better this year."