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Wildcat valuable for his versatility

by Tony Burns | August 31, 2021 at 5:58 p.m.

El Dorado junior Elijah Bivens spent the off-season trying to find his own role on this year’s football team. As the season kicks off, he would seem to fit in pretty much anywhere from offense, defense to special teams.

Bivens played tight end in the ninth grade before moving to defensive end and then linebacker. Midway through fall camp, the Wildcats were searching for depth on the offensive line and his number was called again.

“Whenever we saw we maybe needed some help on the (offensive) line. Elijah being a bigger bodied guy, was a guy we thought could help with the (offensive) line,” said defensive coordinator Trey Outlaw. “Me and Coach Borosvskis pulled him in and we talked to him. I asked him, I said, ‘Hey, the team needs this.’ Without hesitation he said, ‘O.K. I’ll play (offensive) line. Whatever the team needs.’ If the world had more Elijah Bivens’, it’d be a pretty good place. He’s a very selfless kid.”

At 6-1, 225 pounds, Bivens’ natural position might be tight end. That’s not a position El Dorado has featured in its offense, however. Outlaw said he still plans to use him at linebacker on defense.

“That’s pretty special to go from playing linebacker all summer until about the second week of July to starting on the offensive line the first week of August in the first live scrimmage,” Outlaw said.

“Selfishly, I didn’t want to give him up. You want to keep all of your kids, especially if they’re good people. But, Elijah did what we asked him to do. He’s playing (offensive) line. He’s also playing linebacker for us as well.”

Bivens played guard in the scrimmage but can play three positions on the offensive line, including center and tackle.

“He’s been able to give us a little bit of speed that we need at the tackle position, trying to defend the speed rush,” said offensive line coach Kris Borosvskis. “Being able to combat the outside rush, we’re trying to get some longer, lengthier guys in there.”

Even more than his physical ability, Bivens’ brings intangibles that help on any roster, in any huddle, on either side of the line of scrimmage.

“I love Elijah. Elijah is one of those kids that comes in, he doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s quiet, keeps to himself quite a bit. But he has a great personality once you get him to open up,” said Borosvskis.

“He’s one of those you say, ‘I need you to look at being deep snapper.’ Yes, sir. ‘I need you to come look at being an offensive tackle.’ Yes, sir. He’s a true team guy. He’s a team player. He’s a selfless guy that’s really coming into finding a spot. He can help us offensively. With him we can add speed and quickness on the edge in pass (protection). I tell you right now, the competition is tough.

He moved over about two weeks ago and he’s already pushing these guys in front him. He’s like, ‘I’m hungry. I want a spot.’ That also adds another element of depth that we have to have.”

Bivens also works on special teams as a deep snapper on field goals.

“He’s gotten really good at that. He has a chance to do some of that for us,” said Outlaw.

Bivens will handle deep snapping duties in Thursday’s season opener at Fairview.

Borosvskis said if El Dorado wasn’t loaded at wide receiver, Bivens could make an impact at tight end. As it stands, he might be a factor at tackle, linebacker or in the kicking game.

“His attitude is, ‘Coach, put me where you need me. Where can I best help the team,’” said Borosvskis. “It’s been a true joy to watch.”

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