Tumwater (Wash.) High is in the midst of an impressive football season, racking up one-sided wins en route to a state semifinal berth. The latest of those was no exception, with the Thunderbirds rolling to a 49-8 Class 2A state quarterfinal victory against an overmatched Burlington-Edison (Wash.) High squad.
Much of the credit for the T-birds' burgeoning success is due to the team's dominant offensive and defensive lines. There's a good reason for those units' collective drive: Almost all the players on both sides are brothers.
That's right, as reported in the Olympian, the T-birds lines are composed almost entirely of three sets of brothers. Most notably, Marquez and Jamie Bryant play across from each other during practice each day, with Marquez, a senior, lining up at offensive guard and Jamie, a sophomore, playing defensive tackle. Both were recently named as picks for the All-Evergreen Conference second team. The Bryant brothers are joined on their respective lines by Tyler and Hunter Burbridge, and Easton and Trevor Hargrave.
Jamie Bryant may be in his first season of varsity football, but he's combined with Easton Hargrave and another teammate, Demetrius Jones, to form a dominant defensive front. The trio has combined for 87 solo tackles and played a key role in the team's 10 sacks.
"[Tumwater coach Rick] McGrath always says you're job is to get to your gap and stay there," Jamie Bryant told the Olympian. "To occupy one or two guys, so the linebackers or defensive backs can do their job, too."
That's precisely what Jamie Bryant and his defensive linemates have done. As successful as they've been, Jamie's brother, Marquez, and his offensive linemates have achieved just as much. The T-birds' offensive front five, anchored by Marquez Bryant, has helped open holes for quarterback Kyle Warner and halfback Ronnie Hastie, both of whom have enjoyed dominant seasons. Warner was recently named the Evergreen Conference MVP for directing Tumwater's explosive running attack.
The quarterback knows he has his offensive line to thank for much of his success. In turn, that offensive line knows much of its productivity comes from battle-hardened workouts with their counterparts along the defensive line.
All of which targets Jamie and Marquez Bryant facing off against each other in practice, taking sibling rivalry to a new, more productive place.
At first, it was weird," Marquez Bryant told the Olympian. "He's big, but we're trying to make each other better."