By Dave Morrison
HICO – Midland Trail’s Aaron Sisler is a man without a position.
Instead, he is a man with many positions.
There are dual threats, and Midland Trail has had its share of those players over the years. Patriots coach Frank Isaacs envisions Sisler being a triple threat.
“Aaron is a little different because he has got so many skill sets,” Isaacs said. “He’s got nice hands and he can run pretty well after he catches the ball. He’s really worked hard this offseason with his throwing action, so he throw the ball pretty well and he can run the ball as a running back. He can do a little bit of everything and I would be a stupid coach not to give him the opportunity to be able to do that.”
So there is no end to the possibilities for a ingenious coach to use Sisler’s skill set.
“People may see him split out wide, he might be at the slot, he’ll be at quarterback at times throwing to (starting quarterback) Chris Vines, and he very well could very well be at running back running back running some type of jet sweep.”
His accent to Mr. Utility started because of another Sisler trait.
“Every time I’d catch the ball, I’d be looking to see if I could hit somebody,” said Sisler, who started as a receiver. “If there was somebody getting ready to hit me I was lowering my shoulder to see if I could run them over. We weren’t very big of a passing team so (Isaacs) wanted to get the ball in different ways so that started out at running back and ended up quarterback at the end of the year.”
He didn’t get a lot of carries and didn’t really get a chance to show off his arm.
He has made his bones mainly as a receiver at Trail, last season catching nine passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He also had four carries for 16 yards.
As a sophomore his one reception went for a touchdown.
It was in a playoff loss to East Hardy last November when he first attempted the Trail Trifecta, a pass, run and reception in the same game.
Sisler is the first to acknowledge that his passing wasn’t up to par.
He has gone about rectifying that situation.
He went to a three-day throwing camp in Tennessee to work on that aspect of his game.
“The learning experience I got there was amazing,” Sisler said. “My mechanics were fixed on the first day. I went through seven different film studies. I’m able to read defenses better, coverages. It helped me tremendously.”
To show he is serious he was the first to arrive for a practice in Hico Thursday, July 9 and went through a series of passing drills with a teammate before the rest of the team arrived.
“I try to be the first one here, I try to lead by example and make sure people can look up to me and see what they need to do or come to me see what they need to do,” Sisler said. “Just be a role model basically.”
Isaacs said Sisler is not just a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none player and because to that he plans work the Sisler’s skills into every game plan.
The games where he has a pass, a catch and a rush in the same game will be the norm.
“If that is not the normal than I’m not doing something right, because he is too talented not to be able to do that,” Isaacs said. “We’ve got do a better job. We didn’t do that last year, putting kids in positions to play and to be successful. Aaron’s got the skill set to be able to throw, run and catch and we’re going to put him in position to be successful in all three of those.”
Of course there is precedence at Trail for having dual threat players.
There has also been a history, the the past and then again lately, of making the postseason.
Despite eight injured starters last season, the Patriots made the postseason, falling to East Hardy 12-7.
The Patriots were one win from advancing to Wheeling two seasons ago and had a lot of that talent back when a spate of injuries struck the team.
“The expectations to me right now is either third round of the playoffs or championship game,” Sisler said. “That’s what I’s sticking to right now. I believe that we have a championship team. (Last year’s team) a team that was going to be one of the best of the ages and we’ve got one that I believe is better this year.”
Sisler, who transferred from Fayetteville before his freshman season, said lessons he has learned at Trail and coach Isaacs and his staff will carry on.
“It’s not only football here, it’s more like family,” Sisler said. “We do the Real Man program, teaching us to be real men, how to be better husbands down the road, teaching us to go out into the real world later in life and do the things that we need to do. We consider each other family, we tell each other we love each other before we leave. I’m blessed to play in this program.”