Winona Christian football coach Ken Chandler remembers a young Collin Parkinson as a fifth grader.
Chandler said Parkinson was a skinny kid who could really run.
Not much has changed with Parkinson as Chandler returns to Winona Christian.
“First of all, he is another one of those kids that was a fifth grader when I was here before, and he was a little bitty thing back then,” Chandler said. “He was an athlete, and you could tell that even back then when he was playing pee wee football. He is not a big guy, but he is the leader, especially on defense. Right now, we are trying to find a place to put him that benefits us the best, where people can’t throw away from him or run away from him. We have him and Jake (Ware) so you feel like you have strength in the secondary.”
On offense, Parkinson will be a main target for quarterback Brannon Hill.
“Offensively, he is the guy that we want to throw to,” Chandler said. “He and Jake are the guys we want to get the ball to. He will motion to the backfield, and we will try to do different things with him. He is football smart, and he understands what we are trying to do. We will try to get him the ball in space and creases and let him use his speed.”
Chandler said Parkinson has that something extra that he likes.
“Jake is a little thicker, and Colin is a touch faster on the clock,” Chandler said. “They both have what I look for in a receiver in that they have that wiggle in those hips. I was doing some defensive back work with him, and he has really good hips and can flip them, and it just comes natural to him.”
Parkinson said he hopes to see the ball a little more this year.
“It’s probably going to be about the same as last year,” Parkinson said. “I do think we will throw the ball a little more this year. We should be a little better than last year and have some more numbers. I’m one of the captains. I’m more of a verbal leader. I just try to keep them in line and not let them start talking to the other team.”
On defense, Parkinson could be all over the field for the Stars. Chandler has spent the summer trying to find the right spot for Parkinson.
“Defensively, in the time I have been here, he has already played three positions,” Chandler said. “We started him at rover and I, as a head coach, decided I didn’t want to put him on one side. He’s just too good in the secondary. So, I said, ‘Let’s move him to safety.’ He is fine there and does a great job there. But so many teams have that one guy that you have to put your guy on. We got a guy in who we think can play that safety, so we moved Colin to our true cover corner. As of now, he’s our field corner.”
Chandler said he wouldn’t worry about putting Parkinson anywhere on the field.
“But he can play anywhere, he’s really versatile, and he’s just a football player,” Chandler said. “I wouldn’t be afraid to put him at nose guard. He is a good defensive player. He is going to make tackles in the open field and is going to be where he needs to be and he is just that guy. He’s a spark plug kind of guy. He’s 150 pounds and plays like he’s 180 pounds.”
Parkinson is a four-sport standout for the Stars. He starts at point guard on the basketball team and averaged 11 points a game. In baseball, Parkinson plays shortstop and pitches. Last year, he hit .426 with a .556 on-base percentage. He had four doubles, three triples and two home runs with 27 RBIs. On the mound, he pitched 40 2/3 innings with a 1.54 ERA and 54 strikeouts.
“He will leave here and go to basketball and light it up in there,” Chandler said. “He will go down there in baseball and do the same thing. He’s just a really good athlete and has great work ethic and is a great leader. He’s a legit 4.6 kid and can really run. We have clocked him several times and he’s in the 4.6 every year. I was not surprised that he ran that fast because when you watch him play, you realize pretty quick that he can roll. And that’s with very little speed training.
I think we might could actually get him a little faster than that with some training.Parkinson said he also plays golf in the summer with a group of his friends and shoots in the low 80s. He said he would like to major in agriculture when he goes to college. Chandler said part of the reason Parkinson is the player he is starts at home.
“He is a great kid,” Chandler said. “He’s a yes sir, no sir kind of kid. I knew his family when I was here before. His mom was a teacher here and his dad was a peanut farmer and now he runs the co-op at Vaiden. I coached his sister in track, and she was an athlete. He has been raised right and you can just tell that by the way he carries himself.”
Chandler said he can sum up Parkinson with one story.
“He has only missed one workout this whole summer and he texted me that morning telling me that he had to work with his dad at the co-op,” Chandler said. “He had to load feed or something like that. He’s just not going to miss. He’s not going to the beach or the mountains and be gone during the summer. He is here and he is dependable and a great leader for me.”