Collins quickly grew into a big goal scorer for Lake Forest

Lake Forest High senior lacrosse player Kade Collins (7) netted 67 goals as a sophomore. (Delaware State News file photo)

FELTON — Kade Collins was a football player before he took up lacrosse.

The way he saw it, the two sports had a lot in common.

“It was very action-packed, fast-paced,” the Lake Forest High senior said about lacrosse. “And you got to run around with a stick and hit people.”

Collins liked the new sport right away. But, after three seasons of playing defense, he also thought switching to attack might suit him better when he got to high school.

“I felt like it was a little more fun,” said Collins.

Apparently, he was right. Three seasons and 132 goals later, Collins proved he had the skills to be a big goal scorer.

Collins’ scoring ability helped make him a first-team All-Henlopen Conference Southern Division pick each of the last two seasons.

Spartans’ coach Brandon Savage said his two-time team captain always seemed to bring a lot of passion to the sport.

“One thing about Kade is that he isn’t scared,” said Savage. “He is ready for a challenge. What made him a great goal scorer is that he accepted that challenge every game to go out and just dominate the person that was across from him.

Kade Collins is going to continue his playing career at Eastern University (Pa.) in the fall. (Delaware State News file photo)

“One of his best attributes is that kid is fearless. It shows in his goal scoring, how he was able to dodge through players and, at times, just running players over in order to get to the goal to score.”

Collins, who also played soccer for Lake Forest, showed some of that fearlessness in football as a junior. He calmly booted a 32-yard field goal with five seconds left to give the Spartans a 31-28 victory over rival Milford that year.

In lacrosse, it took the freshman just three games at his new position to tally his first high school goal in 2017.

“It felt amazing, honestly,” said Collins, who also played in the 302 Lacrosse travel program. “I felt like I made a bigger impact on offense.”

But Collins’ season ended just a couple games later when he tore the MCL in his right knee. The injury was a tough setback but also made the youngster more determined to work harder as a sophomore.

“It was horrible,” said Collins, who underwent surgery to repair the injury. “(But) I think, if anything, it only helped me. It pushed me to get better and come back stronger.”

All Collins did as a sophomore was tally 67 goals to tie for the state lead that season.

Of course, netting 67 goals also got Collins a lot more attention from opposing defenses. That led to him becoming more of a playmaker.

Collins’ goal scoring dropped off but his assist total picked up as a junior. He finished with 60 assists to give him 192 career points.

“There wasn’t a team that didn’t double-team him or slide early just to get the ball out of his hands,” said Savage. “I think he became a smarter player. He had to realize that he couldn’t do it all on his own.”

“A lot of teams had an eye on me after my sophomore year,” said Collins. “I had to kind of learn a new part of the game and get a lot better at moving the ball and feeding my teammates. I take an assist the same way I take a goal now.”

The evolving role also made Collins become more of a leader. Lake Forest, which has only had a varsity program since 2015, went from 3-11 in 2017 to a combined 21-10 in Collins’ two full seasons with the Spartans.

Lake Forest also made the DIAA state tournament last year for just the second time.

With a good group of returning players, including seven seniors, the Spartans had their sights set on posting the program’s first state tourney victory this spring.

“We saw this as the best team we were going to have at Lake Forest,” said Savage. “I’m losing a pretty core senior class that I’ve had with me the past four years. It was very tough not being able to see those guys get after it for their final year.”

Savage said Collins was a big part of that veteran group. He said Collin’s best attributes are his “heart and his want to win and make the team better.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a player that just wanted it for everybody — not just for himself,” said Savage.

Collins is going to continue his playing career at Eastern (Pa.) University in the fall. Still, the Frederica resident would have loved the chance to help the Spartans build off last season.

Even in a relatively-new program like Lake Forest’s, Collins is glad he took up lacrosse.

“It would have helped to have more experienced guys,” he said, “but I wouldn’t trade the experience I had for anything.”