Christian Searles doesn't mind never leaving the field.
Searles plays both ways and returns punts and kicks for Mount Carmel. The senior wouldn't have it any other way.
"I went to Coach Frank (Lenti) and wanted to play both ways," Searles said. "He also wanted me to go both ways and I didn't hesitate when he asked me."
Searles has 17 tackles and four interceptions for the 8-1 Caravan, who host Benet Academy at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gately Stadium in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.
In the season-opener, he showed his two-way ability by returning an interception for a score and catching two touchdown passes in a win over St. Patrick.
"I love being on the field the whole game," Searles said. "You get to be a part of the whole game and you see a lot of things (by) being on the field all the time."
Searles also stars in the classroom and is being recruited by Cornell and Bryant University (Conn.).
"Because he is a smart kid, he brings a cerebral approach to the game," Lenti said. "He understands the game. We can show or tell him something and he goes out and does it."
Searles, who also plays basketball, has used his athletic ability to his advantage, but Lenti said he is more than that.
"Some kids are great athletes who play football," Lenti said. "Christian is a football player who is also a great athlete. He loves and understands the game."
Searles said his thinking man's approach, combined with his physical and athletic abilities, is a plus.
"If you understand the game, you can think a play or two ahead, or analyze the situation quickly," Searles said. "You have to play physical, but you have to be able to think out there.
"Going both ways helps because you know what a team might do in a situation."