Former Yreka and COS football player Kannely-Robles a Trailblazer in Utah

Bill Choy
Former College of the Siskiyous football player Drew Kannely-Robles runs down the field for the Dixie State Trailblazers during a game last season.                                        
                                                                     Submitted Photo

Former Yreka High School and College of the Siskiyous standout running back Drew Kannely-Robles can't wait to get back onto the football field to prepare for his second year at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.

Drew, a redshirt junior this past season, was a vital component of a Trailblazers running game that used a running back by committee approach, as he was one of three RB's who saw a decent amount of playing time. In his first year with the program, he finished with five touchdowns and 296 rushing yards.

This included two touchdowns versus Western Colorado on Oct. 19 and a season-high 65 yards versus Black Hills State on Oct. 5. The squad had one of their best seasons in years, going 8-3 overall.

After playing in NCAA Division 2, Dixie State is moving up to the NCAA Division 1 Subdivision this fall and will play as an independent. In a phone interview on Thursday, Drew said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was now taking his classes the rest of the semester remotely online in St. George.

The Trailblazers only got through about half of their spring practices before they were called off due to the coronavirus.

"It's tough to be away from our normal lives," he said.

The semester ends at the end of April. Afterward, Drew hopes to return home to Yreka for a few weeks before heading back to Utah to prepare for the upcoming season.

The year's schedule includes a game on Oct. 3 at Sacramento State, which is located about four hours away from Yreka. Kannely-Robles is also looking forward to the Trailblazers Sept. 19 game at Montana State, since a few former teammates from COS now play for the Bobcats.

Drew, a 2016 YHS grad, had an impressive highs school career and ran for 2,600 rushing yards in his two seasons on the varsity level and had 36 total touchdowns.

Kannely-Robles went on to nearby College of the Siskiyous in Weed. After redshirting his first year, he played for two seasons, including a memorable sophomore year in 2018 when he rushed for 1,715 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He said that his time at Dixie State “has "been going quite well."

Drew has enjoyed both the school and football program and said he made a great decision to attend Dixie State.

Kannely-Robles said the team is a tight-knit one, and he has formed a bond with his fellow running backs, and his running backs coach, Peter Tuitupou. Tuitupou, who played at both Snow College in Utah and San Jose State University at tight end, was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers for a season in 2013.

"This group of running back are hard workers, and we push each other to be better and support one another," Drew said.

Kannely-Robles said it helped to have experience on the college level at COS, which made the adjustment to playing for a new squad on a higher level easier to manage. He said it meant a lot to him to be part of a successful season and contribute.

"It's been a lot of fun running onto the football field during games and having our fans going pretty wild," he said.

Drew said being part of a RB by committee situation worked out quite well.

"I think it gave us fresh legs," he said. "When we were called, we were all ready to go."

Kannely-Robles said it still has not been decided yet if it will be a running back by committee situation again, or if there will be more of a lead back for this upcoming season. For Drew, whatever his role is, he will embrace it and do what is asked of him to help his team on the football field.

"I'm not too worried about how it turns out," he said. "I know that whatever happens, I'll have a role."

Drew said he is grateful for the experience of being able to play close to home COS and how well the coaching staff prepared him for the next level.

"Without them, I wouldn't be here," he said. "They did so much for me as a person and as a football player."

Kannely-Robles is majoring in exercise science at Dixie State. While he is not sure at this time his plans after college, one thing he would like to do is have a chance to be a football coach, he said.