One more game for ‘the dancing bear’

March 13, 2019

Nimble and agile on his feet.

It’s an unusual trait in an offensive lineman. So it’s fitting that Brandon Seibert was given an unusual nickname.

The La Porte offensive tackle was awarded the moniker ‘the dancing bear’ by assistant coach and offensive line coach Bob James for his exceptional football skills.

‘The dancing bear,’ aka Seibert, was recently recognized for his talents as he was selected an Indiana North All-Star by the Indiana Football Coaches Association.

“He’s just a special player,” James said. “He’s so athletic for his size. That’s what made him so good. A lot of times those big guys are just 1-on-1 good, in-line blockers. But a lot of teams wouldn’t put a guy on him, to make him move his feet and get downfield and block you. And he did that almost better than he did in-line (blocking).”

He’s the second consecutive Slicers’ offensive linemen to register All-Star accolades. Jake Thode made the squad last year.

“We work pretty hard and we try to perfect everything we do,” Seibert said. “And we look up to the people who played before us, like Jake and other great offensive linemen.”

The 53rd annual North/South All-Star Game is at 6 p.m. on July 12 at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

Former La Porte head coach Dave Sharpe was an All-State player back in his playing days, so he understands the significance of this similar honor.

“He definitely deserved it,” Sharpe said. “He was a great player. He improved every single season he was in the program. This was a great reward for him. I’m very happy for him.”

The 6-foot-3, 325-pound Seibert’s importance to La Porte’s Wing-T, rush-first offense can’t be understated.

He played a vital role in the team’s rushing game, which averaged 262 yards per contest last season. He was the only returning starting offensive linemen, so he was relied on immensely to make that attack effective.

His coach added that Seibert’s agility and speed is what separated him from his team’s other offensive linemen.

“For being such a big guy, he wears it really well,” Sharpe said. “He’s so quick and explosive. He had just very light feet for a big fella. Any time you have that combination in high school football, and with his toughness and his desire to be great, it made for a special player. He’s got a lot to be proud of. We racked up a lot of yardage going right behind big Brando.”

Joining Seibert on the team will be La Porte manager Kaitlyn Freel.

“This year she took on the moniker as the ‘team mom,‘” said James, whose in charge of all the Slicers’ managers. “She was kind of in charge of eveything and don’t make the ‘team mom’ mad, or things are not going to go well. It was kind of a longstanding joke throughout the season. But she ran the ship. She was so well-organized. It was her fourth year. She knew exactly what needed to be done, when it needed to be done.”

Freel will continue her education at Manchester University, and she’s also looking to be a manager for their football team.

Seibert said it will be different but gratifying to be a teammate with the Michigan City duo of running back Lyric McFarrin and tight end Justin Wozniak.

“It’s going to be a new experience,” Seibert said. “We’ll have fun playing together. It’s going to be a huge difference from playing them twice a year and being their rivals, to now, we’re going to be on the same team trying to win together.”

Seibert’s not entirely sure if he’s going to play college football, but he mentioned he’s applying to Trine and Ball State. He added he would like to try and play football at one of those schools, if possible.

First, however, Seibert will compete in the All-Star game in July.

He recalls his initial reaction when he found out he was named an Indiana All-Star. Seibert was working at Walmart when James texted him informing him he’d made it Monday night.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Seibert said. “It was a good surprise. I knew I could do it, but I was shocked at the time I figued out I was an All-Star.”

In addition to Seibert and Freel, new Slicers head coach Jeremy Lowery was selected to the South Team’s coaching staff. Lowery, a 1991 Penn High School graduate and former player, has been Paoli’s head coach the last two years.