Seeley prefers the field over the sideline |

Seeley prefers the field over the sideline

It’s easy to spot Jerry Seeley on the football field. He’s the South Tahoe High player who can’t find the Viking sideline.

In an era when prep football coaches prefer not to utilize players on both offense and defense, Seeley has taken two-way player to another extreme. The 5-foot-7, 140-pounder is actually a four-way player.

In addition to playing receiver and defensive back, the Viking senior also returns punts and kickoffs.

“Jerry is the most versatile player we have,” said Vikings coach Tim Jaureguito. “He’s the utility player of the year for us.”

In the high-altitude setting of STHS, many players would need an oxygen tank to keep up with Seeley, but the hardworking teen-ager takes his breathers between plays, much to his coaches’ satisfaction.

“If the coaches feel that I can do all of these positions and they put me in, it makes me feel that the coaches think I’m a pretty good player,” Seeley said.

His coaches say that his unselfishness is the quality that sets him apart from most players.

“He knows if he were playing full-time offense, he’d be having some big-time numbers,” Jaureguito said. “He never said a word, never complained. He’s just an unselfish guy who goes out and gives everything for the team.”

Jim Morgan, the Vikings’ receivers coach, understands better than anyone how much the offensive repetitions mean to Seeley.

“I know he doesn’t like to play defense, but he’s never said anything to the coaches. Jerry’s made quite a sacrifice to play defense. He’s doing this for the team. He’s very unselfish.”

Assistant coach Eric Beavers takes the responsibility of making sure Seeley can play all of his positions and remain effective.

“Coach Beavers works us pretty hard. We run 16 100s on Mondays and at the end of the week we’re doing special teams where we’re constantly running up and down the field on kickoff returns,” said Seeley, who supplements his football workouts by running and playing basketball on his own.

Last Saturday against Reno, Jaureguito lightened Seeley’s workload by leaving him off the defensive unit. The offense benefited as Seeley made a spectacular fingertip catch along the sideline for a 66-yard gain and caught the Huskies napping when he took the snap as the up-man in punt formation and raced 31 yards for a first down.

“It’s not affecting his game. He’s not dropping balls,” Morgan said. “He’s still performing well on offense because he worked so hard over the summer. We could do more with him if he didn’t also play defense.”

Even though Seeley has yet to provoke officials to raise their arms toward the sky, he has set up many Viking scores with 21 catches for 424 yards.

“Personally, I’m bummed because I’d like to see him score a couple of touchdowns,” said Morgan, whose other senior receivers Immanuel Williams and Ryan Hickey have combined for 16 touchdowns. “On third and long he has helped us immensely, with four or five clutch catches for first downs to continue drives.

“If Jerry was on any other team in the league, he’d be the primary receiver. He’s among the top five receivers in this league easily. Immanuel has size and speed, Hickey has really great hands and Jerry runs the most precise routes, is very focused, reads the defenses and he’s my best blocker.”

An enviable work ethic has made Seeley better with each season, but the all-purpose player attributes his offensive and defensive responsibilities for making him a more complete player.

“I can read the defenses, whether it’s man or (cover) two and on defense I can read the play it by the receiver if he takes a short split, it’s an out or flag pattern,” Seeley said.

Seeley’s versatility hasn’t gone unnoticed in the college ranks. Several four-years schools and junior colleges have inquired about him.

“I know we’ll have no problem getting him in somewhere,” Morgan said. “He’ll prove himself. He’s a hard worker.”

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