The St. Cloud Apollo Eagles' football program struggled on the field in 2016. They won their first game of the season, but then dropped the next eight games. Despite their poor record two-way player Jonh Sithamat felt there were plenty…
The St. Cloud Apollo Eagles' football program struggled on the field in 2016. They won their first game of the season, but then dropped the next eight games. Despite their poor record two-way player Jonh Sithamat felt there were plenty of lessons learned that will help the Eagles rebound in 2017.
“The season didn't go like we planned it,” Sithamat said, “but it was a wake-up call for us and has made us hungry for this year.”
Scoring points usually was not a problem for the Eagles, but they gave up a lot of points on the defensive side of the ball.
“We threw and ran the ball well,” the junior wide receiver said. “When we were swarming to the ball and played as a team on defense we were playing well.”
Sithamat was starting for the first time as a junior. He rarely came off the field.
“I played wide receiver, corner and all the kicking teams except the field goal team.”
The amount of varsity playing time was a change for Sithamat, but it was something he was ready for. He was asked to play varsity as a sophomore primarily but decided to focus on junior varsity to be able to play with the group of friends he came up playing with for one more year.
“I trained hard and really worked on my stamina to be able to keep it up and not get tired this year,” Sithamat said.
On offense Sithamat always lined up as the widest receiver on the weak side of the team's spread formation.
“I think I can get off the ball fast and make it look like I am always running a fade. I am good at making quick cuts on comebacks and posts. It is hard for the corner to read me.”
The 5'10″ 170 pound Eagle noticed something on film and thought his deception could get even better next year.
“I would like to improve my cuts and stopping ability,” Sithamat told northstarfootballnews.com. “I put my arms out a little bit when I stop. I want to make in nearly impossible for corners to know when I am about to stop. I usually spread my arms out, so it is easy to tell when I am going to stop and make my cuts. I need to keep my arms in tight.”
Defensively, Sithamat prides himself on his physical play.
“I like to be aggressive with the receivers. I always like to jam them and keep my hands on them – trying to get them upset and get into their heads a little bit.”
During the off-season, Sithamat concentrated on improving for football.
“The team lifted weights four times a week. On Friday's we would get together to throw the ball around. We would pick a core lift each day and then would do the rest of similar workouts for that day. At the end of each day, we would have a speed session.”
NFN's 349th ranked Class of 2018 player is continuing his same basic workout plan into the summer, but the team has added a seven on seven league in Sauk Rapids on most Sundays. The team just got back from a North Dakota State team camp and the soon to be senior is still deciding what individual camps he will be attending.
“St. Cloud State and Concordia-St. Paul are talking to me. Minnesota-Crookston wants me to come to their camp, I wasn't able to get to SCSU's camp, but Concordia-St. Paul and Minnesota-Duluth also want me to come to their camps.”
Being recruited mainly as a receiver, Sithamat hasn't been able to talk to many coaches so far, but the few he has talked to say they like his explosiveness off the line of scrimmage, his cutting ability, and his speed.
With no plans to rest Sithamat much as a senior, colleges should get plenty of opportunities to see what he has to offer them – on both sides of the ball – as he tries to help the Eagles' take what they learned last season and work the program back towards the top.