Sigler, teammates have 'one more thing left to do'November 27, 2019
By COREY STOLZENBACH
LINCOLN CITY — Cole Sigler is making sure to maintain an even keel this week amid all the hoopla.
The senior quarterback and defensive back for Heritage Hills said everybody on the No. 2-ranked Patriots is trying to stay locked in during practice this week in preparation for the Class 3A championship game Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Sigler said the team is making it a goal to have this week be the best week of practice that they’ve ever had. He said he’s focused, and thinks everybody else is, too. Sigler called all of the distractions “outside noise.”
“It’s one of our traits that we preached from Day One,” Sigler said. “We’re unified, focused, disciplined, physical and relentless. Those are our five things that we want to be all about. We just try and do all five of those each and every week, and just continue to get better and get ready for the state championship.”
Sigler’s play both on offense and defense is a big reason why the Patriots are in the state championship game for the first time since 2004, and are one win away from their second state championship after 2000. He has shown his prowess on defense with a team-high eight interceptions, and also leads the Pats with 145 return yards on those interceptions. Sigler ran two of those picks back for a touchdown.
In fact, the number of interceptions he’s returned for scores is greater than the number of interceptions he’s thrown as a quarterback. Sigler is 39 of 69 passing for 657 yards and nine touchdowns, and has only been picked off once. He’s also shown the opposition that he’s a dual threat quarterback. Sigler has 12 rushing touchdowns. The speedster’s 113 rushing attempts and 1,122 yards are both second on the team.
“My friends always give me a hard time and say it’s genetics because my dad (Heritage Hills defensive coordinator Chris Sigler) was fast,” he said.
The elder Sigler is a 1981 Heritage Hills graduate, and was a three-sport athlete, also playing basketball and baseball. Chris was a quarterback and defensive back, just like Cole is. He said his father helps everybody the same, giving praise when the team does well, while also giving constructive criticism when need be.
The younger Sigler gives a lot of the credit for his speed to the hard work he puts in in the weight room and pushing himself to be a better athlete. He said Heritage Hills lifting and wrestling coach Adam Zollman helps the Patriot student-athletes get to that point. Sigler said he’s a bigger, stronger and faster version of himself than he was last year. He said the team spent a lot of time running and getting themselves in shape in preparation for the 2019 campaign. Sigler himself made sure to run sprints, push sleds, run track intervals, and improve on his agility and footwork. Sigler said he would’ve been very stoked if he knew during the summer the Patriots would be 14-0 and playing for a state championship. He would’ve asked to be signed up, and that he couldn’t wait for it.
He said former Heritage Hills coach Bob Clayton came in on Monday to talk to the team. Sigler said Clayton told the Pats about the crazy schedule they’ll have this week. The team was scheduled to practice at Lucas Oil Stadium today and practice again on Thanksgiving before heading back on Friday to the state capital to try to bring another state championship to Lincoln City. Sigler said he took into perspective what the week will be like, how focused the team needs to be and what must be done to win it all.
Standing in the way of the grand prize is top-ranked Indianapolis Bishop Chatard. Sigler and his teammates have watched a lot of film on the Trojans, calling them a “really great team.” A victory on Friday would be just the second time ever Heritage Hills triumphed against Bishop Chatard, following the 2004 state runner-up team when the Clayton-led Pats did it.
Friday is it for Sigler, whether his team wins or loses. However, he said he hasn’t thought too much about playing the final game of his high school career, and is focused more on the game. He’s one of 16 seniors Heritage Hills has. Sigler said it has to end for everybody sooner or later, and when it’s over, it’s over. He’ll be satisfied with everything the team has done. Sigler said he’ll most miss the day-to-day interactions with his coaches and teammates as they played the game they love. He said he’s looked into some places about playing after high school, but hasn’t received any offers. Sigler hopes to attend Indiana University and study at the Kelley School of Business. He hopes to get into finance or accounting.
If his current plans hold up, then the Kelley School of Business would be getting a quarterback who is 48 minutes away from leading the Pats to their second undefeated season in football history.
“I think we’ve all dreamed about this forever to even be in this position, and then winning it, it’d be the greatest feeling in the world,” Sigler said. “It’d mean a lot to bring this state championship back home to this community, a football-rich community. Everyone’s so proud of us as it is, but we feel like we got one more thing left to do.”
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