Spearville senior Bailey Sites signed his national letter of intent Tuesday morning.
He’ll attend McPherson College and play football for the McPherson Bulldogs next season.
Some of Sites’ classmates, Spearville coaches, parents and McPherson head football coach Paul Mierkiewicz all attended the signing. McPherson is a four-year school and member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“It’s a big step in my life,” Sites said. “I’ve been dreaming about this ever since I learned about the game of football. It’s just a big dream come true and I’m just excited to start this new chapter in my life.”
Sites said he felt comfortable around the coaches, which helped him decide to sign there.
“I feel like if I needed to, I could tell ‘em anything,” Sites said. “They’re just those type of people where if you need something you just go to ‘em.”
The school is a Christian college affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, according to a fact sheet on the schools website. Sites said he likes the city and also likes what the program is doing.
“They do a lot of volunteer work, which I like that, I like being involved with the community,” Sites said. “It just seems like a really nice friendly place, and it just feels more like home to me.”
His impact on the Spearville football program has been significant, but still not his biggest impact in Spearville, Royal Lancers head coach Matt Fowler said.
“I think what he’s meant to the program, he’s meant so much more to the community even, because he’s such a great role model for our young kids,” Fowler said. “He’s genuinely a one-in-a-kind type person in general. He is a tremendous athlete, he’s a tremendous football player, he puts his heart into everything he does, but he’s a 10-times better young man. I know my son certainly will miss seeing him, because he’s been one of his heroes, and he’s been a lot of kids heroes around here.”
Because of all that, Fowler said people will talk about Sites in the community for a long time, and his example will continue through those stories.
Fowler coached Sites all four years of his high school football career and has been around him since Sites took physical education with Fowler in sixth grade.
Sites made a first impression on Fowler before he even began his freshman year in high school.
“His first junior-high football game here, the very first play he was ever in a game, we played Minneola at home, and they squib-kicked it to him and he picked it up and he ran it for a touchdown,” Folwer said. “That’s the first touch he ever had officially for the school, that’s for our junior high program, was a touchdown. First play he was in, it was the first play of the season, first play of his junior high career, he scored a touchdown.”
Mierkiewicz, Sites’ future head coach at McPherson, said character and work ethic are a couple of the major elements Sites brings to the team.
“That’s really ultimately in the recruiting process where we want to get started,” Mierkiewicz said. “And then as soon as you turn the film on, you can tell he’s a special player, and talking with the coaches here (he’s a) student of the game, loves the game of football and he’s gonna make us very proud on an off the field.”
For Sites, it was his dad Steven Sites who got him to this point and helped make the signing possible.
“He’s pushed me through everything,” Bailey Sites said. “I don’t give him as much credit as he should, but he’s made me the competitor that I am and he just gave me that drive that made me want to love football and keep succeeding and keep going further and further in it. And I feel like by me going to play college football, I’m just giving it back to him, all this hard work that he put into me.”