By NEIL H. DEVLIN
Steve Sewell is cool.
He’s busy, too. The former Bronco had already signed on to be the boys track coach at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., and was to help oversee the girls. Then the head-coaching job of Trailblazers football became available as Seth Replogle stepped down in an attempt to deal with some health concerns.
So guess who was there to take over?
“When (the football job) opened up, I had already accepted the track job, then football opened and I went through the interview,” Sewell said. “It’s going to be a great ride. It will be a process.”
Sewell, now 53 years old, a grandfather and a man who rarey has anything but a smile on his face, knows a little about sports rides. The native of San Francisco starred at Archbishop Riordan High, then as an Oklahoma Sooner. Listed as a running back, Sewell said he “was a hybrid before there was a hybrid,” and was a very versatile 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, and quite adept at combining rushing and receiving opportunities.
It made him attractive to the Broncos, who chose him with the 26th selection in the 1985 NFL Draft. Sewell would play in three super Bowls in a career that took him to 1991, and he made two large catches totaling 36 yards in The Drive, the legendary late scoring surge against the Cleveland Browns on the road that allowed America to suddenly wake up to a guy named John Elway. Sewell caught a couple of seeds thrown by Elway as Denver travelled 98 yards to score a touchdown and force overtime, which they won.
Sewell also served as an assistant at nearby Grandview High, and newbie and lower-level Colorado State-Pueblo, which quickly won a national championship, and had worked with the Broncos in community relations.
“After I retired from Pueblo and said I would not coach again, I came up here and just started working here in post-grad, helping kids to go to college,” he said. “Even with younger ones on the staff, I just kind of fell in love with this school and I saw the challenges involved … I just got that itch back.”
It will take some scratching. Trailblazers followers have had a rough ride since popular and longtime coach Tony Manfredi stepped down after the 2009 season. There have been just two winnings records over the oast seven seasons and an aggregate mark of 25-46. Manfredi’s teams were always well-coached and played like it. Opposing defenses feared Overland’s veer. There were multiple finals appearances as well as the 1993 Class 6A championship.
“This will not be about having a two-hour practice and go home,” Sewell said. “There will be a lot of late nights and we want to get back to the Manfredi days.”
By the by, Manfredi and former star linebacker Gary Thompson are two of the prominent figures attempting to establish an Overland sports hall of fame and possibly a continuous wave of fund-raising.
Sewell said he has landed some key figures on his staff, and the next step is to solidify it and establish what he and his guys want to accomplish.
“I’m one of those people where my life is more about helping others than anything,” he said.
Overland welcomes the help.
(Neil Devlin is the premier high school writer and editor in Colorado, and one of the best prep reporters in the country. He has covered all high school sports and state championships for The Denver Post for the past 37 interrupted years. He became the most prominent and popular, and longest-haired and longest-tenured, prep sports editor in Colorado history because he is an exceptional writer and an award-winning reporter, and he cares deeply about the students and the athletes. Devlin is the father of two — a Special Olympian, and a deputy district attorney, and he’s a dutiful husband. He was raised in the Philadelphia area and still loves his Philly steaks and pro teams — way too much. Neil recently departed The Post and joined woodypaige.com, and is contributing opinion pieces, polls and features on state and national high school sports regularly.)