Way, way back in the halycon days of May 2008, when Sheepshead Bites had just launched, the fourth story ever published on this site was about the recruitment of Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) football’s defensive end Andre Civil to Rutgers University‘s Scarlet Knights (also, my alma mater.)
Back then, the team was just beginning to rise after years of pitiful performance, and started making a name for itself. Fast forward three and a half years, and Rutgers University joined the Big Ten Conference, helping solidify its athletic excellence.
Civil, who took on the role of right-tackle after the NFL picked off a few of his colleagues, played a prominent role in the team’s surge in rankings, and he’s been embraced by the students and alumni, who’ve started packing the football stadium (during my years there, the school literally bribed students to go to games. On some days, it was the only place you could get a meal using the meal plan).
That spirit is a whole lot different than Civil is used to. A native of the Sheepshead Bay – Nostrand Houses, Civil notes that New York City dwellers’ indifference towards high school and college football spurred him to work harder.
The Trentonian profiled Civil, writing:
“First off, I think a lot of people don’t look at New York high school football as much,” said Civil, who mostly ran a Wing-T offense in high school. “You just kind of have a chip on your shoulder and want to show people you can play ball and compete with other states, especially New Jersey because New Jersey is known for football.”
Civil grew up right across the street from Sheepshead Bay and played football at the adjoining field. Some schools, like Flatbush’s Erasmus Hall, would have to commute through the borough just to get to practice.
He played games at noon every Saturday, like clockwork. Sheepshead Bay never played night games, despite having lights. Civil did not need them to turn on.