Metea Valley’s all-purpose Michael Sfikas gives opponents fits

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Three-sport athlete Michael Sfikas doesn’t waste any time responding when asked what’s his favorite sport.

“I like football the most, no doubt,” he said. “There’s just something about it.”

If you ask Metea Valley’s three-position starter — he’s a punter, kicker and wide receiver — if he’d rather win a game by kicking a field goal or scoring a touchdown, well, he’s not so sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a tough one, but at least it would mean we won another football game.”

Sfikas’ 35-yard field goal last year proved to be the difference in a 24-21 win over South Elgin, but that kick came during the third quarter. The Mustangs will battle the Storm again this Saturday.

“It’s going to be another tough one, but they all are,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors on this team that remember last year and we’ve worked harder than ever before. We want to be the first team (from Metea Valley) to make the playoffs, and that’s everyone’s whole mentality.”

“He’s highly motivated and he’s a competitor,” Mustangs coach Ben Kleinhans said. “He just wants to win and is open to doing anything.”

Last year, Sfikas’ primary responsibilities were punting and kicking. This season he’s also starting at wide receiver (six catches, 97 yards).

“He really isn’t coming off the field much because he’s on the field for our three and four-receiver sets and we don’t have many two-receiver sets,” Kleinhans said. “He’s just one of those guys that’s a football player more than anything else.”

And he’s a reliable one, too. In his career, Sfikas has converted 44-of-48 PATs and 8-of-11 field goals.

“We place high value on special teams and what he does for our kicking game is a big strength for us,” Kleinhans said. “He controls field position for us and our success in games is directly related to him in the punt game and kickoffs. He’s perfect on PATs (this year) and just very solid overall. It’s a huge advantage to have a kid like that.”

And it’s not new, either.

“I’ve always liked doing it, but didn’t get serious with it until recently,” Sfikas said. “I like it because special teams can really make a difference with field position and it can be exciting with game-winning kicks.”

He attended some camps over the summer that specialized in kicking and punting to continue developing his skills. He owns a career- long field goal of 37 yards, but has a leg that’s strong enough to connect from far longer.

“I hit one from 60 yards in practice,” he said. “I had a little bit of wind, but not much. Maybe because of the wind it was about 55 (yards).”

Naturally gifted athletically, Sfikas appeared in 30 baseball games in the spring, hitting .305. Last winter he came off the bench for the basketball team.

“Anything he does, he’s good at,” Kleinhans said. “He committed to kicking camps and refined his skills there, so while he’s a natural, he also works hard. His ceiling is very high.”

Just like his punts.

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