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By LARRY VAUGHT
His football coach is not really sure what is his best sport or even what he does best on the football field. All Caldwell County football coach Davis Barnes knows is that sophomore Elijah Sindelar is special whether it’s football or baseball.
“I really don’t know what his best sport is,” said Barnes of the 6-4, 210-pound Sindelar. “This year he did not play basketball, but he’s good there, too. He’s just a gifted athlete. He excels in all three sports. In baseball, he pitches and plays either third base or first base.”
On the football field, Sindelar — who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds — plays quarterback. He threw for 2,961 yards and 32 scores by completing 203 of 327 passes last year and ran for 447 yards and seven scores on 65 carries. In the Class AA state title game loss to Newport Central Catholic, he was 21 of 29 passing for 258 yards and two scores and rushed 14 times for 54 yards and a touchdown.
“He improved so much as a sophomore just by being able to see the field better and understanding coverages,” Barnes said. “He developed a knack for picking up and reading defenses. He ran the ball a little bit more this past year, but his pocket awareness was better. He had a good year as a freshman, but just having a year in this offense helped him tremendously.”
He’s been getting what Barnes calls “quite a bit of attention” from college recruiters, including those at Kentucky and Louisville. Murray and Austin Peay have expressed serious interest, too. Of course, he might get even more attention in baseball. Several pro baseball scouts says there is no reason to doubt his draft potential
“I think he’s going to get a lot of looks in football. He had a really good state championship game and a lot of coaches saw him play in that game,” Barnes said. “I think next year, he’ll get quite a few offers. I have really not talked to him about the baseball part. I have sat down with his parents and talked about the football part. They just want what is best for Elijah. They are very open about his future. I think his junior year in baseball will be big.”
Some think his junior football season could be just as big. As good as Patrick Towles of Highlands and Drew Barker of Conner have been in recent years, some veteran high school football analysts believe Sindelar could be the top quarterback the state has produced in 20 years or more.
“There are a lot of good quarterbacks who throw the ball around,” Barnes said. “A lot of people are talking about him. He does throw a nice deep ball with good touch. He’s special, but we’ll see how special.”
Barnes also says he is a “great kid” with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
“He’s a student leader with a great and supportive family,” Barnes said. “He’s a young man who knows right from wrong and does things the right way. He’s very coachable, but still has that certain attitude the great athletes have. He can do things on the field you can’t coach. I have a weightlifting class at 6:30 (a.m.), and he’s in that class. He gets his lifting in each morning and that helps him tremendously. But that’s the kind of kid he is.”
Barnes isn’t sure of Sindelar’s summer plans because he plays on a traveling baseball team. He thinks he might opt to attend several one-day junior camps.
“I know probably UK will be one and Louisville probably will be one of them. After that, I don’t know. But he has a lot of options,” Barnes said.