Athlete of the Month

By Joel Denicoff, Sports Editor

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When envisioning a shark, among the first few adjectives that come to mind are predatory, brutal and ruthless. All of these traits are captured by senior linebacker Bret Sickels, which explains why many of his teammates refer to him by his nickname “The Land Shark.”

Sickels has started at linebacker on the varsity football team for three straight years and is in his second season in a row as team captain. Last season, Sickels made 1st Team All League.

“I started to play football seriously at age 6, and football has been my favorite hobby ever since,” Bret said.

His father, Bob Sickels, introduced Sickels to the sport. Before Bret came to CHS he played for the Maplewood Football Team his father coached.

“My parents have really supported me playing football,” Bret said. “They make sure I do my workouts and help me get my transcripts out to colleges.”

Sickels has a “never give up” attitude and showed signs of his determination at a young age. When Bret was 9 he broke two fingers in a Maplewood football game. He went over to his father, the coach at the time, and pleaded to stay in the game.

“I felt like the world’s worst father, but Bret was so hungry to play I finally gave in,” Bob Sickels said. “So I taped up his fingers, let him finish the game, and he ended up playing one of his best games ever.”

Not only is Sickels willing to play through injuries, but he also has one of the most focused and determined work ethics on the team. In the offseason, Sickels lifted or did speed training five days a week, once or twice per day to get stronger and faster.

“After the football team lost the last game of last season, head coach Allen told the boys they had a month off before workouts would begin,” Bob Sickels said. “And I remember Bret telling the coach there is no offseason in football and he was back in the gym the next day.”

Bret plans on continuing his football career in college. He is considering playing at William and Mary, Cornell, Towson, JMU or Indiana.

“My individual goal is to make the All Met team and play college football,” Bret said.

This year the Bulldogs are 3-0, and have held their first three opponents to only 14 points total. Sickels is a crucial reason why the team has had so much success defensively, as he lead the team with seven tackles against Kennedy and had a game-changing interception against Whitman.

“I’ll do anything I can to help my team win,” Bret said. “Winning games is the most important thing so we can achieve our ultimate team goal to win a state championship.”

The Sickels are a football-oriented family. Bret has three brothers and two sisters, and all his brothers played CHS football. His older brother, Jake Sickels, graduated last spring, played football all four years of high school and is currently playing football at Susquehanna University. Bret’s younger, brother Will, is a junior who plays on the varsity team, and his youngest brother Max is a freshman who plays on the JV team.

“Football is more than just a sport to me, without it I honestly think I would be a different person,” Bret said. “Ask my friends, they would say football is my life, and I would have to agree.”