Brotherly love of the game

Brotherly love of the game
September 20
04:00 2018

William and Jemel Craig-Blakely are brothers who have grown up loving the sport of football.  Now teenagers, both are standout players for the Reagan Raiders varsity and junior varsity football teams, respectively.

The brothers play on opposite sides of the ball as William is the backup quarterback for the Raiders varsity team and Jemel is a defensive lineman for the JV team.  They said playing on the same team last year was great, because they knew they had someone there to support them.

“Last year was fun, I kept him pumped up and he kept me pumped up and we were able to keep each other level,” said William.

According to the brothers, they enjoyed some lighthearted sibling rivalry on the field.  They would wager which one would have better stats during each game last season.

William began his youth football career playing the offensive line.  An injury to the starting quarterback was the opening for him to start playing under center.  He has been perfecting his craft at the position ever since.

“I like being the leader and I feel like people look up to me when I am playing this position,” William said about playing the quarterback position.  “You have to have a high IQ to play that spot.  When you play offensive line or defensive end, you have one job, but as a quarterback you have multiple jobs like putting the ball in the right spot, lead your team and you have people looking up to you.”

William feels he has developed tremendously since his freshman year.  Now a junior, he says he has learned a lot from the other quarterbacks on the team. He also credits the coaching staff for his progression as well.

Jemel started off playing offensive line, running back and cornerback as a youth.  As he aged, he began to get bigger and made the switch to defensive line.

“I like to hit people,” Jemel said about why he likes to play defensive tackle.  “I have just continued to get bigger, stronger and faster and that will help me play the position better as I get older.”

William has a few things he would like to accomplish before he graduates, such as winning a state championship and obtaining a Division I scholarship.

Both the JV and varsity Raider teams are playing well this season.  William has guaranteed his varsity team will make it to the third round of the playoffs this year and Jemel says his JV Raider squad will go undefeated.

“We have the best defense, best running back and best quarterback in the conference so I am confident we can do it,” Jemel said of his JV squad.

“We just have to stay humble,” William stated.  “Everybody says that Reagan is a losing school in the past, but if we just keep playing good football, we have a good chance.”

Jemia Blakely, William and Jemel’s mother, says she started them off playing sports when they were very young.  Since the brothers are only a year apart, they have been competing along side one another for quite a while.

“I just want them to be the best,” she said.  “I tell them all the time that they are superstars and that is what I want them to be.”

Jemia says she tries to make sure her sons understand that their performance in the classroom is more important than their onfield efforts.  She says she was so happy to see the brothers playing on thesame field last year and looks forward to seeing them together once again.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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