JOHNSONBURG — Nick Sipes, who ascended to the No. 1 spot on the District 9 all-time rushing list with his 208-yard show in Curwensville Area High School\’s all-important 18-3 Allegheny Mountain League South Division victory over Johnsonburg Friday night, doesn\’t have any family member or fan prouder of his accomplishments than Coach Andy Evanko.
Sipes broke the career record of 4,694 yards set by Aaron Cantafio, a 2001 Brockway graduate, and now has 4,804 yards for 636 carries, an average of more than 7.5 yards per rush.
\”We should talk about Nick Sipes because, first of all, that\’s a heck of a record,\” the Golden Tide mentor responded to a question from one of the four sportswriters who met him on the Memorial Field turf after he posed for pictures with his trio of four-year stars, Sipes, quarterback Shawn Sopic and tackle Sam Kephart, and defensive coordinator Chris Folmar.
\”And the other thing, some people don\’t realize he played all last year without an ACL,\” Evanko continued. \”He racked up whatever yards he did without an ACL.\”
The 210-pounder earned Associated Press and Pennsylvania Football News Class A All-State second team recognition in 2005 after piling up a District 9-leading 1,857 yards on 242 carries with his left knee in a brace.
\”He comes back this year in March, after he wrestles without an ACL, goes through the operation and he\’s into therapy and stuff like that,\” Evanko noted. \”He\’s just one tough, dedicated kid.
\”And another thing I don\’t think people realize is what a good kid he is, how high he ranks academically, how great his moral ethics are. What a nice, super person to have. I wish he was my son. I look at that and that\’s the epitome of what you want your kid to be.\”
Evanko considers Sipes the ultimate team player, especially after what he endured last season.
\”At the practice field last year, he was really dragging around (because of the knee),\” Evanko said. \”He\’d go in those games and he\’d barely make it through, but he did what he had to do for the good of the football team. It wasn\’t all glory for himself. He was worried about his football team.\”
As happy as he is with the record, Sipes would be the first to give credit to the \”all those guys who ever put on a Golden Tide football helmet in front of him and helped block those holes on dive, Iso, lead and sweep,\” Evanko said. \”They were a big part of that thing, too.
Evanko regards Sipes as one of the \”most unselfish and high moral and respectable kids I\’ve ever met.\”
\”I wish he\’d get every record in the books so far untouchable it would never happen to anybody else, because of what he\’s been through and what he\’s put into things,\” Evanko said.
By the time he takes off his Golden Tide No. 20 for the last time, Sipes just might have numbers that may last a lifetime.