Fifth-grade dream becomes a reality
He’s one of the most personable guys on the Washington football team and he is also the team’s No. 1 cover guy. “(Senior Carl Sivels) was on homecoming court for a reason,” said senior Alex Coker. “He is a nice guy. He is my best friend.”
On the field, he made the switch to cornerback prior to the season after former corner Coker picked up 30 pounds in the offseason. Coker said Sivels had a good break on the ball and would be a good fit.
With a spot at state 12 games later, Sivels has flourished as the team’s top shutdown player in the secondary.
“He’s fast,” Coker said. “He is one of the fastest guys we have.”
His team is giving up 69 passing yards per game. The team hasn’t allowed more than 23 points, with most of those points coming against its second team.
He said the highlight of the season was shutting out Pella. The Demons had one goal line stand at the 5 and then blocked the field goal on fourth down.
“That whole game was us flying around and being physical,” Sivels said. “We showed everyone what we can do.”
A stereotype of corners is that they play less physical. Sivels takes that challenge head on with the hits he delivers.
Sivels leads the team with four interceptions through 12 games. Washington’s defensive unit has forced five takeaways in the postseason, to the offense’s one miscue.
Around the team he and Coker are referred to as ‘the Big Pappas’ of ‘the commits.’ It is group organized within the team with mostly juniors. The Octekta was the group headed up by last year’s senior class.
“We are the head honchos,” Coker said.
Sivels, away from the field, is known for being an open guy. He said he can’t keep a secret and can make friends with a stranger.
“He is pretty open, so a lot of people know a lot about him,” Coker said.
Coker has seen first hand the fear that spiders can evoke from Sivels.
“He is really afraid of spiders like arachnophobia,” Coker said. “We were in my car driving. There was a little tiny spider in a little tiny web. He jumps out of my front seat — we are driving 45 m.p.h. — to my back seat. He is like screaming, freaking out. I pull over and ask him what is wrong; he says, ‘I saw a spider.’”
Coker said all his teammates are like brothers, but Sivels can count on him for help anytime.
Alums have reached out to the seniors. They represent another group of people that players get to throw on the jersey for.
“It’s great; we know we are playing for more than just ourselves,” Sivels said. “It is great to have the support when the whole town is traveling there.”
Finally, Sivels gets to live in the moment and play out his dream.
“It’s great; I’m looking forward to this,” Sivels said. “We have been looking forward to this since freshman year. It has been a dream since fifth grade. We have talked about getting to state and the Dome. It is finally here. We are just going to try to finish the job.”
The last Washington team to make state was the 1997 squad. With a win Thursday, Washington has a chance to top their run.
“It is nice they made it and it’s nice being the second team,” Sivels said. “It is good to look up to them as role models. Hopefully we can move past their mistakes and set a new standard. We want to make them proud.”
Chances at a state title only come around once in a blue moon, or for Washington 16 years.
“The time is now,” Sivels said. “Everyone is sold into this. We are two games away from accomplishing our goal. No one is looking to the future. We are all playing in the moment.”
Win or lose, Sivels is sure to have a hand in the result.