Austin and Ryan Kendall have been competing with each other their whole lives.From the dinner table to the weight room to the basketball court to football and lacrosse fields, even in video games, the brothers have a daily battle for bragging rights. So last year, when they finally played on the same high school football team at Cuthbertson High in Union County, the sibling rivalry continued with Ryan, a junior, and Austin, a freshman, battling for the Cavaliers’ starting varsity quarterback position.Older brother Ryan, (5-foot-10, 180), initially won the job. He started the first three games of the season before injuries forced former coach Michael Roark to shift his junior starter to wide receiver, putting Austin in at quarterback.Austin (6-foot-2, 200) kept the job the rest of the season, going 5-4 while passing for 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns.“That first week was a little rough, because Ryan (who passed for 1,993 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore), as a competitor, didn’t want to give up his spot,” said Brian Kendall, father of Austin and Ryan. He also said his sons are best friends.“But once they both found out they could be successful together ... They were right back to normal,” Brian said.Full competition is normal for the Kendall boys.“I love competing with Ryan in everything we do,” Austin said. “I would say I win the most, but he would probably tell you he wins.”Ryan had the typical older brother response.“I usually win because I have more experience,” Ryan said. “But he beats me at some stuff here and there.”The brothers helped the Cavaliers to their best season in school history at 6-6. Then Austin and Ryan (25 catches for 486 yards and six touchdowns last season) and their parents, Brian and Kim, explored transferring to private schools in the off season.Ryan, 17, ultimately decided to stay at Cuthbertson for his senior year, but Austin, 15, moved to Charlotte Christian, where he has earned the starting quarterback role for the NCISAA 3A defending state champion Knights.Austin wasted no time establishing himself. He passed for 131 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 72 yards and another score in the season opener, a 28-19 win over Sun Valley.The younger Kendall also had 232 yards passing, including a touchdown toss in his second start, a 42-0 win over Hammond School (S.C.). Austin has blended in perfectly with a talented offense that also includes classmate tailback Elijah Deveaux, senior tight end Jeb Blazevich (Georgia commit) and senior wideout Bo Hines.“Austin is definitely mature beyond his years, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with his brother being around,” Charlotte Christian football coach Jason Estep said. “He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. But he’s very humble about what he does. He knows he still has a lot to prove.”Meanwhile, Ryan has also been up the task. He started the season opener for Cuthbertson at quarterback, passing for 76 yards and a touchdown in the 24-14 win over Parkwood.The elder Kendall shifted back to receiver when new Cavalier starter, senior Steven Fusco, returned from a mission trip in Italy. Fusco found Ryan Kendall for six catches and 91 yards in their 32-12 victory over Hickory Ridge. Ryan also is a team co-captain.“Ryan’s main goal is to win, he doesn’t get caught up in the stats and all the other stuff,” First year Cuthbertson football coach David Johnson said. “He has really bought into what we’re doing and been a great senior leader for this team.”The Kendall brothers are being heavily recruited by colleges for both their football and lacrosse talents. They played for the Cavaliers’ lacrosse team last season.Ryan, who verbally committed to play lacrosse at Mercer University, is still considering a football scholarship from Gardner-Webb. He has visited that school, Western Carolina, William & Mary and Wofford.Meanwhile, Austin has an offer from UNC Charlotte, and has interest from Auburn, Georgia, N.C. State, Penn State and Tennessee, where he attended camps this summer.“We are always on the go with all the recruiting stuff,” Brian Kendall said. “But it’s a lot of fun to see both of your sons do so well. I think we’ve learned a lot about the recruiting process ... with Ryan. So, Austin has definitely benefited from that.”And the brothers do keep an eye on each other.“It’s been great to see Austin start off so well (at Christian),” Ryan said. “But it’s a little weird not being on the same team, I wanted to get out there and strap it up with him.”Austin said “Ryan was always there for me last year at key times to calm me down. So it’s different this year. But I’ve learned a lot from him over the years … so I’m looking forward to proving I can be successful.”
Friday, Sep. 06, 2013
Brothers to the end, QBs play on different high school teams
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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