Brock Pope

Brock Pope signed his letter of intent to play at Bradley University.

The Lake Dallas Falcons have been in senior Brock Pope’s blood forever.

“I’ve been a Lake Dallas Falcon for 13 years now,” Pope said. “I’m a 13-year senior. I’ve grown up in the area. I’ve grown up watching my brother play. I’ve grown up watching football games as a 5-year-old. This area – it’s home.”

Ever since he was little, Pope has watched the star athletes come through the community and carve out successful careers collegiately and beyond. He watched Josh Jackson – now with the Green Bay Packers – shine as the Falcons and how his athleticism, grit and the way he could take over motivated him.

Then there was his brother, Chance, who he always watched and has always been that driving force in a relationship where both have driven each other to become the best they can possible be.

“My whole life has been my brother,” Pope said. “Since we were little, me and him would box. Me and him would fight. He would always bully me and just poke me around. He’s six years older than me. He still does it to this day, just bullying me and just constantly, ‘Oh, really. You did that? Well, I did this.’ And I looked at that and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to do that.’”

For years, Pope’s older brother had that leg up on him. He was a goalie at Houston Baptist University, a Division I program.

So, what could Pope really say to him? His brother was a Division I athlete while he wasn’t. 

Not yet, at least. 

“I got that spark and that dream from him of being a D-I athlete because my brother always used that against me,’” Pope said. “‘You’re not a D-I athlete yet. Let me know when you’re a D-I athlete.’”

Over the years, Pope was determined to do whatever he could to better himself on the field and do whatever he could to win. And when he first stepped on Lake Dallas’ campus as a freshman, he was ready to make a difference any possible way he could and leave a legacy that could be remembered for years.

Pope ended up making the varsity team as a freshman and was a four-year letterman. The talent was there in his first varsity campaign, but unfortunately, the Falcons couldn’t quite qualify for the playoffs, and he remembers that last night vividly.

It was against Little Elm on Senior Night, and the emotions were raw. 

“It really bothered me, and it hurt,” Pope said. “I told myself in that locker room the next week, ‘This is not going to happen again. We’re going to playoffs next year. We’re going to change this.’”

Change it he and the Falcons did.

They had some players move in the district. One of those was Orlando Castro, who was recognized by the respective district Lake Dallas was in three times – including two first-team selections - during his three seasons at the school.  

The program qualified for the playoffs in 2018 as sophomores for the first time since 2012 and went two rounds deep before a heartbreaking loss to Lovejoy, a day that motivated Pope and the rest of his teammates to come back and rewrite the history books forever. Lovejoy tied the game up with 55 seconds left and then won it in overtime.

Martin walked in the following season and the first thing he wrote on the whiteboard was “55 seconds.”

“It was that moment where I knew something special was going to happen in that locker room, and just seeing the faces on everyone, I knew that we were going to make a run and I knew that we were going to talk a lot of noise to the school saying we were going to go very far,” Pope said.

Lake Dallas certainly went far, and Pope was a critical part of those banner campaigns as he developed into one of the best players in the talent-heavy state of Texas.

In 2019, Lake Dallas won an outright District 8-5A crown and had a postseason for the ages. It won four playoff games and advanced all the way to the regional finals, when it fell to El Paso Bel Air.

Turn the page to 2020, and optimism was high. Much of the roster was intact, but the season started out rough, with Lake Dallas unable to win a pre-district game.

Then the incredible turnaround happened, with the Falcons going on an 11-match unbeaten streak in 8-5A play and winning a second straight outright district crown before the remainder of the season was ultimately canceled. 

During those final two championship years, Pope was the MVP of the district. He dominated every chance he got and lifted the program to new heights, combining for 32 goals and 26 assists while never losing a game on the 8-5A schedule.

“It was pretty cool to have a program change drastically while you’re there and to be able to say that like you played a big part in that change, that 2020 class,” Pope said. “I think that’s pretty special for us to go back and say, ‘You know what? We brought in all these playoff trophies to our program.’ And just to be able to say, ‘We put Lake Dallas on the map.’”

And Pope finally beat his older brother, his driving force through everything in his career.

When Pope committed to Bradley University, a fellow Division I program, he left the room his parents were in and first called his brother to tell him the news. He told him he was a Division I athlete now, and his brother asked what Bradley told him and what it gave him.

“And I told him,” Pope said. “He said, ‘You did better than me.’ He goes, ‘I finally can’t raise the bar any higher than I have.’ He’s like, ‘This is all your journey now.’ He’s like, ‘What you do is up to you.’ He said, ‘I’m always going to keep motivating you, though, to be the guy you are.’ He was a good player at his school, but he’s motivated me and told me that if I’m not better than him that he’ll be disappointed, so I can’t let him down now.”

For continued coverage, follow Chris on Twitter @CJacksonSports

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