Former Desert Hills standout lineman Penei Sewell helps Oregon Ducks win season opener

Penei Sewell of the Oregon Ducks is flanked by his parents Arlene and Gabriel Sewell after his team's season-opening win over Bowling Green at Eugene, Ore., Sept. 1, 2018 | Courtesy photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Former Desert Hills High School football standout Penei Sewell played his first college game last Saturday, helping the Oregon Ducks to a 58-24 home victory over Bowling Green.

Sewell, who is listed as 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds, was the first true freshman to start for the Ducks’ offensive line in a season opener in more than two decades, team officials said, noting that Lee Gundy was the last such freshman to do so in 1997.

Sewell, the highest-ranked recruit in Oregon’s 2018 class, reportedly found out the day before the game that he would be starting at left tackle in the opener.

“He did not know that he was going to start until the night before,” Penei Sewell’s father Gabriel Sewell told St. George News, adding, “I kind of asked him, ‘Well, how did it feel?'”

“He was grateful to know that the players and coaches trusted him enough that he’s earned that start. And for them to trust him on that level, was a great feeling.”

His father added: “He may have been a little nervous, but he was more filled with excitement and eagerness more than anything. He said he’d prepared for that moment for a long time, and he was given this shot. And basically, he was going to go out there and prove that he deserved to be there.”

Gabriel Sewell and his wife Arlene Sewell, along with other loved ones, attended the game in Eugene, Oregon, to cheer for Penei in his first-ever college game.

“Great vibe, great fans and a great game,” Gabriel Sewell said.

Wearing uniform No. 58, Sewell and his fellow linemen were tasked with protecting quarterback Justin Herbert.

Herbert completed 10 passes for 281 yards and five TDs during the blowout win, and rushed for another TD. The Ducks amassed more than 500 yards of total offense.

Oregon plays at home again this Saturday against Portland State. Click here for the Ducks’ full season schedule.

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1 Comment

  • commonsense September 6, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    I guess my response is, why not stay at an in-state school? What is the attraction of Oregon?
    I know they have a benefactor with deep pockets but there are rules against benefitting from that.
    I could see a young athlete attracted to Souther California or a superior academic institution like Stanford, but Oregon? Sorry, just would like the good players to stay in Utah.

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