(WFRV) – High school football players make their names under the Friday night lights, But for most their first experiences of the game started on a completely different piece of grass, their own.
“I’m just goign out there and trying to win games against him because he’s my brother. It’s one of the biggest competitions you have is against your family. You’re next to them all your life,” said Fox Valley Lutheran sophomore Benett Reader.
The game of football runs in the family for the Readers. Even if it took a little extra encouragement to get on the field.
“My dad is one of the coaches here, and about fourth grade I tried to quit and play soccer, and he said no. At the time I was like, ‘that kind of stinks,’ but now I’m really happy he did,” said Fox Valley Lutheran senior Kyle Reader.
The sons of a coach, the Reader boys made their mark with the Foxes. Oldest brother Drew, who has since graduated, is the program’s leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
Now it’s Kyle, a senior, and Benett, a sophomore, that are charged with carrying on the family legacy with Fox Valley Lutheran.
“It’s been a family. Obviously all of us have gone through FVL. He’s a sophomore and I’m a senior. This place has really grown to be home,” said Kyle Reader.
“I have a lot to live up to, and I’ve got a lot of points to make. I’m always trying to be the best of my family. I’ve just got to go out there and play my game, and try to do that,” said Benett Reader.
It should be no surprise the toughest competition is in their own backyard, the site of those first experiences playing the game.
“Oh yeah, very competitive. I was trash talking every day. We were playing, and I would go as hard as I could for every ball. I’d dive for everything trying to get the upperhand on him, because he’s got a better advantage than me because he’s got more years than me, and he’s smarter than me at football,” said Benett Reader.
“It helps tremendously, because you really work on each other’s skills. Either way it helps both of you, it’s not like benefiting one of you, and you can go out there any day at any time. We’re all stuck at home doing nothing anyways,” said Kyle Reader.
During the pandemic everyone had to find ways to get work done at home. For high school football players it was no different. So, having someone to throw the ball and run routes against definitely helped as they prepared for a season that wasn’t always a certainty.
“Our neighbor is actually our quarterback here. We quarantined as a group. We were all together as a quarantined family. It was really a blessing to have a football field in the backyard, run routes, and work against each other,” said Kyle Reader.
Now it’s a matter of taking those lessons learned in the backyard to the game field on Friday nights.
“Really we’re just lucky to be playing. I mean, something like sixty percent of the teams are out right now, or moved to spring. Even that’s all up in the air still. So, I think we’re just happy we’re still here. It’s exciting,” said Kyle Reader.
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