Ryan Sitter takes the concept of being an all-around contributor and raises it to another level.
Like most of the top players on Elgin High’s football team Sitter rarely leaves the field, but his willingness to do just about anything makes the three-year varsity quarterback, defensive back and special teams ace an invaluable commodity.
“Ryan is a very good punter, but he also happens to be our best long snapper right now,” Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. “It’s tough to snap it to yourself and kick it, but I think he would try. He’s in the gifted academy so he’d probably try to come up with some theorem that would make it work.”
For now Sitter is only handling long-snapping duties on punts, and in typical fashion the 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior charged down the field and made a tackle on one such play last week against Huntley.
Sitter’s do-it-all mentality extends beyond the gridiron as he is a talented three-sport athlete. Once football season ends he will go to work for his father, Elgin basketball coach Mike Sitter, as a returning starter on the hardwood. Come springtime Ryan Sitter will be the top pitcher and a key presence in the batting order as a three-year varsity starter for the Maroons baseball team.
The busy schedule doesn’t yield much time off as one season bleeds into the next, but Sitter would have it no other way.
“I get pretty much every Sunday off, but that’s because the IHSA says so,” Sitter said. “I broke my finger during gym class finals last year, and it’s still broken because I didn’t have the time to let it heal. Once I threw a baseball and it didn’t hurt, I just figured there’s no reason to take time out. If it’s fine, it’s fine.”
Despite the misshapen pinkie finger on his right throwing hand, Sitter has completed 18 of 33 passes for 262 yards this fall for the Maroons, who carry an 0-2 record into Friday night’s showdown against crosstown rival Larkin.
Sitter says decision-making is his biggest area of improvement since being thrown into the fire as Elgin’s starting quarterback in Week 3 of his sophomore season, and the proof is in the numbers. As a sophomore he threw 17 interceptions, but that total dropped to seven last year and only one so far this season.
Despite Sitter’s best efforts, thin rosters have left Elgin fighting an uphill battle on the football field. The Maroons finished 1-8 the past two years, and while the lack of success can wear on a competitor like Sitter, he tries to maintain a positive approach.
“This experience has given me a better mindset to know I can take a beating and come out fine,” Sitter said. “We can lose big, but the next day I’m still there and I’m still showing up.”
Growing up Sitter was a frequent presence at Elgin football and basketball practices as he tagged along with his dad, an Elgin graduate who in addition to being the school’s basketball coach has also helped out as a football assistant and is serving as the sophomore team’s offensive coordinator this year.
Sitter values his time spent breaking things down with his dad during car rides home after games or over the dinner table. Their unique coach-son relationship has also helped instill in Ryan a deep sense of Maroon pride.
“My dad absolutely loves the school, and that’s something that has rubbed off on me,” Sitter said. “He’s made me care as much as he does. I love this school.”
Although Sitter has no definitive plans for beyond high school, he hopes to continue his athletic pursuits as a pitcher for a college baseball team. In the meantime, look for him to get in on the action any way possible during his final year suiting up for Elgin High.
“It’s the competitiveness coming out in me that I hate to be on the bench,” Sitter said. “One day I’m going to be sitting around and I’m going to think back to my playing days, and I want to remember being on the field. That’s why I signed up to play.”