With only one minute and 30 seconds on the clock, the UVU football team was hanging on to their playoff hopes, up by only six points. A touchdown from their opposition would tie the game and the extra point would seal their fate and end their season.
As the ball was snapped and the hole opened, it looked as if their window was closing. However, in a remarkable play, middle linebacker Alan Sheffer forced a turnover out of nowhere, resulting in a Wolverine touchdown to lock up a spot in the playoffs.
As the UVU football team rides their roller coaster season of highs and lows, Sheffer has been one constant that has kept them stable. Sheffer has been a rock for the football team this year on defense. He is the kind of player that the team can lean on when it needs a play, or to be a calming influence.
Sheffer wouldn’t be compared to the Ray Lewis type of leader. He is never seen shouting, or talking much, for that matter. He lets his play do that for him.
When something good is happening for the team it is a safe bet that the #51 jersey is somewhere around. He isn’t someone who is going to wow with speed or athleticism, but he consistently makes plays that make others do a double take.
So what is it that makes Sheffer so special? One of his closest friends and fellow teammate James Anderson said, “He makes plays I have never seen in football before. He just thinks with his head, and understands the game better than a lot of other people. He will not get outsmarted and has a good idea of what the play is before the ball is snapped.”
One of those plays came last week in their victory. With the opposing team driving, and the quarterback under center, Sheffer jumped the snap count and blew through the offensive line. The quarterback couldn’t even bring the ball to his body before Sheffer hit and ripped the ball from him.
The game stopped as everyone on both sides of the ball tried to figure out what had happened. Even the refs took a bit to figure out what was going on and finally make the call.
Sheffer’s smart and gutsy play isn’t the only thing that makes him special. His quiet leadership and fierce personality instills confidence in the team.
“The guy is never intimidated no matter who is on the other side of the ball,” Anderson said. “He helps our morale because we know we have the biggest bully on our team.”
With all that Sheffer does on the field, he also contributes off the field. As one of the founders and co-president of the footballclub, he is consistently trying to do what he can to promote the team. Sheffer hopes that they can build a team that the school can be proud of. Their dream is that within the next year they can start holding formal tryouts, and playing a higher level of competition against other smaller schools in the area and neighboring states.
Sheffer’s biggest desire, other than a conference championship, is for the students of UVU to support and be proud of the team.
“Our main goal is to create UVU’s first football program,” he said. “If this program is going to be successful, we need the students to get behind us and come out to support us. That is what we are trying to do.”
Although it can seem like building a football program at UVU is nearly improbable, if Sheffer’s on-field play can translate to results off the field, there is reason to believe it can happen.