By Aaron Garcia
To Aaron Sigmon, the question must’ve seemed a little silly: How in the world does a player average 11 tackles per game?
Even at linebacker, a position that promises a collision on almost every snap, 11 tackles each game is an amazing feat.
“Just run to the ball as fast as you can and be there on every play,” Sigmon said with a shrug.
The Forest Hills senior made it look that easy in 2010, tallying 143 tackles, nine of which were for a loss. He topped his career high with 18 stops in the season-ending rivalry game against Monroe, besting his mark of 17 set last season. He reached double-digit tackles in seven other contests, en route to representing North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, one of the highest honors a senior football player can earn in the state.
The performance also earned Sigmon Union County Weekly’s 2010 Defensive Player of the Year award.
Sigmon actually improved his numbers from his junior year, when he collected 132 tackles, despite facing double- and triple-teams on nearly every play.
“It was a little more difficult than the past two years,” said Sigmon. “I think I dealt with it pretty good.”
Sigmon also was a blocking back and special-teams player this year.
“He didn’t come off the field,” coach John Lowery said. “We knew he could make plays so we created situations that made him make plays.”
It didn’t hurt, Lowery said, that Sigmon had the perfect mentality to be a play-making linebacker.
“A lot of kids have a timid (quality) to them, as far as going to stick their nose in there sometimes,” said Lowery.
Not Sigmon, who has signed to play at Wingate in the fall after choosing the Bulldogs over UNC Pembroke.
“Some people will make contact, but they don’t have a lot of force or thrust with it” said the coach. “When (Sigmon) hits you, he hits you.”
To Lowery, Sigmon’s ability to find the ball and his willingness to lay his body on the line for the sake of stopping the opposition was innate.
“I really think it’s a personality thing,” Lowery said. “He has it, and it’s been good for (our team).”
That also means Lowery has a big hole to fill next fall.
“We were so dependent on him making those tackles,” Lowery said. “The thing with him was, for us, we built our defense around him. That’ll be an adjustment (next) year because we don’t have an Aaron Sigmon coming back. We’ve got some good players, but we don’t have that kind of player coming back, so we’ll have to find us another Aaron.”
And that won’t be as easy.