New voice of Carroll Dragons
By Drew Davison
Photo by Ron Jenkins
Most of Chris Blake’s extended family is from the Northeast. They’re passionate about football in that part of the country, but it’s mostly at the college and NFL level.
“They see ‘Friday Night Lights’ the movie or TV show and always ask, ‘Is that really how high school football is in Texas?’” Blake said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, basically.’ Especially in cities like Southlake, Aledo, Allen … any of these powerhouse schools where they still have one high school for the city and the entire community rallies around the program.”
Being able to become part of a program like that is why Blake is thrilled to debut as the new broadcast voice of the Dragons this fall. Blake will serve as the play-by-play voice with former Dragon great Robert Clayton in the analyst role. For Blake, it’s the perfect avenue to continue his broadcasting career.
He was the play-by-play man for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks baseball team from 2013-15, and also called the Corpus Christi ISD football game of the week. After a stint in New York, he relocated back to the Metroplex in 2018. His broadcasting assignments since returning include serving as the TCU women’s soccer analyst and hosting the pregame and postgame shows during TCU’s football broadcasts. He’s also set to become the new voice of the TCU women’s basketball team.
But it’s hard to top the Carroll gig.
“I’m excited,” Blake said. “This is one of the premier high school football play-by-play jobs in the state. It’s a program with a lot of winning tradition.”
As far as his broadcasting style, Blake has been influenced by some of the most respected voices in the area. He is the son of Rangers Hall of Famer and longtime public relations director John Blake, so Chris has developed a relationship with play-by-play voice Eric Nadel. He’s also worked closely with TCU play-by-play man Brian Estridge.
“Obviously, I don’t take for granted that I’ve had an unorthodox childhood in growing up here with access to some of the people that I look up to,” Blake said. “Eric is first and foremost my role model. The warmth that he brings to a broadcast is hard to replicate.
“From a football perspective, Brad Sham is a legend in this market. And, I’m biased because I went to TCU and worked on the broadcast, but I’m a big fan of Brian’s play-by-play as well. I just think he brings a lot of excitement and rises to the moment particularly well.”
Blake noted that this year’s broadcast is centered more on the video element, so he’ll be focused on setting up Clayton to provide insight and analysis more than anything.
Clayton has plenty to offer, too. He was an offensive lineman for the Dragons in the late 1990s and went on to play at UTEP. He’s since returned to the community and has trained a number of linemen through his 5th Quarter Performance at Texan Fitness in Southlake.
“I’ve talked with Chris a lot, and he’s an amazing guy. I think there’s going to be a lot of synergy between us,” Clayton said. “And, as an ex-Dragon, I have a lot of knowledge about what it means to be a Dragon. A lot of people see that it’s a great program, but Southlake has some of the hardest-working kids that you’ll ever be around.
“Some of these kids will never go on to play college football. Their Super Bowl is playing on Friday night for Southlake Carroll. Those are pretty special nights.”
Blake will be there to share it all.