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Givens hoping to give Red and Black even more

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Edgar Givens has been a perfect fit in his new surroundings.

But the Watertown Red and Black’s first-year wide receiver has found just one problem since moving to the area from the Midwest.

“It’s peaceful up here. I will say this, though, people up here don’t know how to drive,” Givens said. “But besides that, it’s peaceful and the people up here are very generous people, so I feel welcome.”

“Up here it’s just a love for the game, for real,” he added. “Everybody on the team — offense, defense, throughout the coaches — it’s just a love for the game.”

Givens, who stands at 6-foot-4 1/2, weighs roughly 220 pounds and has an extensive football background, has been a welcomed addition to the Red and Black’s offense this season. He has accounted for 85 of the team’s 188 yards through the air and its lone receiving touchdown — a highlight-reel catch made while lying on his back in the end zone.

Givens is hoping to lead Watertown (1-2) to its first on-field victory of the season in tonight’s 7 p.m. nonleague game against the Finger Lakes Impact in Waterloo.

“He’s a rookie that walked in here and two or three days into practice I knew he was going to be a captain,” said Red and Black offensive coordinator Nate Bryant. “He’s a leader, players listen to him, he can break stuff down for a player quickly but he’s also respectful. He’d rather pick you up than put you down.”

The 27-year-old moved to the area last fall to be near his sister, a 17-year member of the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Drum, and his 16-year-old nephew.

Before making the move, Givens played arena football for the Wichita Wild of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. He played both the wide receiver and safety positions.

“For one, the wall doesn’t lose,” Givens said of his arena football experience. “The wall does not lose. Two – everything is quicker, shorter and real fast-paced.”

“I loved it. The fans are great,” he added. “You can catch a touchdown over the wall and the fan can have it in his hands too. It’s awesome.”

Givens learned of the Red and Black while doing research on various football teams around the state when he decided to move.

He attended a Red and Black game late last season and said he liked what he saw. Then he decided to sign up after a chance meeting in the weight room.

“It just so happens, coincidence for real, I was working out and ran into Joe Brennan,” Givens said. “I knew he’s their starting running back and he started giving me the ins and outs about it. So I signed up and I’m here.”

Before his arena football stint, Givens played two years of college football at Division II Central Missouri.

He started at Arkansas State of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision but soon transferred to a junior college, Southwest Mississippi State, for the first two years of his college career.

He played mostly safety in college and played outside linebacker and defensive end for his high school in a small Missouri town about 200 miles south of St. Louis.

He played a series at safety during the Red and Black’s season opener at the Syracuse Shock and delivered two big hits to Shock running back Justyn Hardwick, one of the elite backs in the Empire Football League.

“I love (playing) receiver to death, but I love safety too,” Givens said. “I mean if I could, I would play both ways every game, if I could. But I guess I’ll have to play offense. Defense doesn’t get too much glory like that anyway.”

Wherever he is lined up, Red and Black coach George Ashcraft likes what he has seen thus far from Givens.

“Edgar is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound stud,” Ashcraft said. “He’s a very physically fit athlete, you can tell, and he’s got a lot of heart for the game.”

“He’s got a great attitude, everything about him is just positive,” he added.

n The Red and Black was idle last week but received a forfeit victory over Montreal.

The Voyageurs took a hiatus from the EFL after the schedule was released, so EFL teams will receive forfeit wins in place of those scheduled games.

Watertown will also receive a forfeit for its scheduled Aug. 17 home game against Montreal.

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