All-Area Football: Speedy Skin Seawell catches, runs way to MVP
Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat /
There was not one player more consistent on the gridiron in 2013 than Calaveras Redskin senior Mike Seawell.
When the Calaveras football team needed a big play, it usually turned to Seawell, and more often times than not, he delivered.
Against the Sonora Wildcats, who the Redskins have not defeated this decade, Seawell scored on a 4-yard run to break a scoreless game in the second quarter.
With Seawell's 140 all-purpose yards, including 78 yards rushing, Calaveras pulled off the upset and beat Sonora 13-7 in mid-September.
Not even the 2010 Calaveras team, who finished as the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championship runner-ups, knocked off the Wildcats.
"He was a momentum changer," said Redskins head coach Jason Weatherby, the Mother Lode League's Coach of the Year. "Our offense sputtered a bit, and he came in, and took it to another level."
"That kid was pretty darn good against us," said Sonora head coach Bryan Craig. "You can't help but like this kid. I loved his style of play. He's physical. He works hard. He goes out there and plays 110 percent all the time. If Coach Weatherby would have given him to me, I'd take him."
In what turned out to be the MLL championship match versus Amador in mid-October, the dynamic Seawell, again, made the game-changing play.
With a minute remaining, the Buffaloes marched into the red zone, and on fourth-and-goal from the Redskins 9-yard line, Seawell, playing defensive back, batted down the game-winning touchdown pass to preserve Calaveras' 21-15 victory in Sutter Creek.
Seawell, who was voted by coaches as the MLL's Most Valuable Player, led the Redskins with 13 tackles to snap Amador's six-game winning streak.
"It was amazing," Weatherby said. "He was due for a big play. He didn't have many in that game, but he ended up making the biggest one. He always seemed like he found a way to knock the ball out."
Down 7-0 against Summerville onNov. 1, Seawell took a fly sweep and glided 80 yards for a touchdown to spark the Redskins.
Calaveras went on to win 44-28, and Seawell rushed for a career-high 241 yards on 13 carries, including four scores in Tuolumne. The shifty speedster finished with 296 total yards after hauling in a 55-yard pass that set up another short touchdown.
"He's got a broad vision," Weatherby said. "Realistically, he has the best vision of what I have seen in the past few years. His acceleration from zero to top speed allows him to make the big plays."
In the Calaveras County showdown against longtime MLL rival Bret Harte, Seawell, once again, was the difference maker at Frank Meyer Field.
With the rivalry game deadlocked at a standstill, Seawell, a three-sport standout, snagged a 60-yard touchdown pass to ignite Calaveras. From there, the Redskins held control the rest of the way and won 26-7.
"Seawell was definitely one of the best," said Bullfrogs head coach Jon Byrnes. "I think the most valuable in the league, by far. He wasn't coming out of the backfield like a true running back, but it didn't matter. He was running the ball and catching it. Great athlete. Fast. Shifty."
Seawell ran 10 times for 114 yards and a touchdown in the regular season finale.
"He plays with a lot of passion all the time," Weatherby said. "He doesn't do the things for himself. He does it so the team can be successful."
Seawell, a focal point for the Redskins game plan on offense and defense all year, helped lead Calaveras to a perfect 5-0 mark in MLL play to clinch the first outright league title under Weatherby.
For that and Mike Seawell's clutch plays and game-breaking talent, the Calaveras senior isThe Union Democrat's2013 All-Area Most Valuable Player.
"He doesn't falter under pressure," Weatherby said. "He gets excited. Whenever we ever needed something, he provided it. He's just dynamic in everything he does. He was our leading receiver, our leading rusher. He was our leading pass defender. He was just everything."
Calaveras advanced to the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships where Seawell had 13 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-21 rout over Hughson.
The Redskins eventually fell short 56-21 to the Ripon Indians in the second round, but Seawell, a three-year varsity player, still made an impact.
In his final game as a Calaveras Redskin, Seawell scored all three touchdowns. He caught a 20-yard pass and rushed for two others from 6 and 3-yards out into the end zone.
"He played his heart out," Weatherby said. "I don't have a doubt in my mind that he left everything he had on the field."
As a senior, Seawell generated nearly 1,400 yards rushing, averaging over 10 yards per carry, and 18 touchdowns in 2013. He also added 450 yards and five scores through the air, and capped off his career accounting for more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage.
"I was very pleased with our season," Seawell said. "You always want to go further and deeper in playoffs, but making it into the second round was a very big accomplishment. It was very pleasing winning the Mother Lode League title and bringing it back to Calaveras."
The multi-dimensional Seawell also picked off three passes as a cornerback and handled the team's punting duties.
"His style of play is pretty unique," Weatherby said. "It's based on athleticism. That puts him in a position to be successful, but he also listens and tries to do the things he's told. He's very coachable."
Although Seawell lacks ideal college size at 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Seawell has garnered the most interest from the University of Mary, a Division II program in North Dakota.
"He has the talent to play," Weatherby said. "He's got the drive. He's got the work ethic too."
Seawell has also received attention from a Division II college in Oklahoma and a few Division III universities in Pennsylvania.
"I hope he finds a place to play," Byrnes said. "Because he deserves a place somewhere."
Also a bonafide starter on both the Calaveras baseball and basketball teams, Seawell said he ran an electronically-timed 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at Fresno State's football camp last summer. He squats 360 pounds, bench presses a max of 220 pounds and has a 32-inch vertical.
Seawell's dream is to be able to play both baseball and football in college, but if one sport pans out over the other, and it's a better fit, he plans on taking that route.
"If I get the chance to, I would definitely love too," Seawell said. "I really want to play football and get an education. Play football at (Division) I-AA or I-A. I always wanted to earn a scholarship. I don't want to give up on my goal."