A.J. Levye, AJ Warren, Colin Hart, Jacen McGee, Jaylin Wells, Nick Fargo, Ray Bentley
Banner Image by Andy Hamilton

Last Sunday, the Sioux Falls Sparrows were able to topple the Queen City Corsairs, their persistent postseason foes, 28-38 to punch their ticket to the SFL Championship for the very first time. Joining the Simulation Football League all the way back in Season 6, the Sparrows have been a near constant playoff presence, only missing out in Seasons 9 and 13. We spoke with several of Sioux Falls’ players, ranging from rookie draft pick Jaylin Wells to team owner Jacen McGee, as well as Colin Hart, AJ Warren, Nick Fargo, and A.J. Levye, about what made this season different, their thoughts on the upcoming game and more.

Ray: So, first off, my congratulations on making it all the way to the Championship Game! How does it feel to have made it this far?

Warren: This season has been fun. We have a great group of guys and are very well managed. I’ve been a part of the Sparrows for a few seasons and we have always been a solid team that makes some noise, but would fall short. It has been great to see our team overcome obstacles and continue the path to the top. I hope we’re ready to go out tomorrow and make our mark. It wont be easy, but it’s a great opportunity for us.

McGee: We’re excited to invade Atlanta.

Fargo: This season has been an amazing experience. The team, coaching staff, and fans have welcomed me with open arms since I signed here, and I couldn’t wish for a better team.
We’ve been close to making it this far but, unfortunately, had come up short. This time, we’re here. We’re here to show we are legit. That we belong here. This is no fluke, and we’re here to win some hardware.

Hart: My favorite thing that I keep hearing is we’re gonna stop Hart. I’ve heard it multiple times this season and then I still go for 120+ and at least 1 TD. I love being the underdog. Feels like we’ve been that way all season and here we are, the big game. It’s Jacen’s time. We’re going to go out there and bring home that trophy. This is nice too: Most Catches in a Season (by a Running Back): 148, Colin Hart, Sioux Falls Sparrows, Season 13.

Wells: This whole ride has been nothing short of amazing. From the very beginning to this very moment. See how so many players are in this league, and some haven’t even experienced the feeling of being in the playoffs, much less a championship game. To be involved with one of the best if not the best rushing attacks in the league is such a humbling and blessed feeling.

Ray: Take us back to before the season even started, to the draft. What was it like experiencing as a rookie?

Wells: I just retired from playing semi-pro ball in Chicago for the Midway Marauders as a Fullback / Tweener. I remember watching the draft, and watching players getting picked that were far lower then me on the draft board. In fact, the 1st team I got in contact with when I joined was with the Swarm!

McGee: Jaylin Wells was projected to be drafted there, & linebacker Jose Fuentes was cut there. But we got them & they’ve been playing at a Pro Bowl level from the start!

Wells: In the S14 mock draft, I was projected to go in the 2nd round at pick #33 to none other than the Atlanta Swarm as well, as a cornerback, but they opted to go in a different direction. Needless to say, when AJ contacted me at the beginning of the 3rd round and asked me to be the fullback of the Sparrows, I was so excited. Plus – I’m a huge Steelers fan, and I get to wear the black and yellow! It was just so fitting. Now we’re in the Championship game against the very team that was projected to pick me… how ironic is that?

Ray: What about this season was different? Sioux Falls has been more successful than not, but now it’s led you to your first Championship berth.

Levye: Our season was a successful one for the most part. We want to add that elusive title of Champion to the list of team accomplishments.

McGee: All of our guys are like that. Every week they keep their head forward & their eyes on the prize. So they might not get the same attention as the rest of the league, but now they’re gonna have to take notice. Because it’s our time. We’re gonna finish the fight.

Hart: This season was all about bouncing back. We’ve made some great additions though in my man (Jaylin) Wells, and then our INT kings (A.J.) Levye and (John) Barnhart. This is such a great all around team. You think you can focus on one part, we’ll beat you with the other. Man, 3 out of 4 seasons I’ve been here we’ve been to the playoffs. We’ve had a disappointing exit. Last season we unfortunately had a death in one of our Sparrows families, causing us to not be able to prepare as much as we’d hoped. This season is different. Everything feels different. We’re ready. This is our time. I came here to do one thing, bring Sioux Falls that mother-lovin’ trophy.

Levye: We all know that we’re going into the Championship game as major underdogs, at the same time, we know that Atlanta isn’t going to take us lightly. It’s going to be a tough fight for both teams, but when the dust settles, only one team will be crowned Champions.

Wells: This whole season has been so awesome!

Ray: Are there any thoughts, shout-outs, possible postseason honors, etc. that you want to mention before the big game tomorrow?

Hart: I’d like to shout out my mentor and SXF Owner Jacen McGee for always helping me when I needed some extra workouts. Beanie Wells for helping me get some rest so I don’t gas myself out early. Our whole defense for what they’ve been able to do this season. This whole organization is just so amazing and welcoming. I couldn’t imagine playing for any other team.

Levye: It’s almost impossible to deny Marcus Dunhill as MVP. Although, our guy Colin Hart deserves some recognition too.

Wells: I’m telling you this league gave me a feeling of a second life. The excitement and energy. Wow. I was at work yelling at the TV; thank goodness I was the only one in the whole building besides security so I could do that.

Fargo: Shoutout to A.J. Levye. He’s been my mentor through all of this. He’s taught me what it means to be a Sparrow.

Ray: Once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. It’s been a pleasure, and good luck tomorrow!

McGee: Thanks. It’s been a long road, so hopefully we grab a championship in front of the world.