South Charlotte

Sibling rivalry fuels Foley brothers on and off football field

Chase and Ty Foley have been competing with each other for most of their lives.

From the basketball court to the golf course to video games to the football field, the Foleys have have a sibling rivalry that only brothers can truly understand.

While the Foley brothers — two years apart in age — battle at everything they do, the intensity of their competition first ratcheted up on the basketball court in their driveway.

The elder, Chase, usually had the upper hand, but Ty did everything he could to even the score.

“I remember those one-on-one basketball games well, and if I tied him or got up one or two points, he would throw me into the thorn bushes (on edge of driveway) on the next play,” said Ty Foley, now a sophomore at Charlotte Catholic recalls, with a laugh. “I’d run screaming and crying to my parents,” Tim and Stacy Foley.

Once Ty calmed down, “my parents would remind me, ‘I know you hate when Chase beats up on you now, but one day you’ll thank him. One day you’ll appreciate that he’s making you tougher.’ ...

“I definitely appreciate it now. But, it was hard to see back then. It was tough love.”

Chase has his own perspective.

“We had some fights like all brothers do,” said Chase Foley, a senior at Charlotte Catholic, also with a laugh. “Those one-on-one basketball games in the driveway were intense. I’d push him around, push him in bushes. There were some bloody noses and some cuts and bruises, but it made him tougher in the long run. I was definitely hard on him.”

While Chase and Ty Foley have been each other’s biggest rivals, they have also grown into each other’s biggest fans.

The Foleys will both play for the Charlotte Catholic (varsity) football team this season marking the first time they have played on the same squad since Chase was 9 years old and Ty was 7 years old on the Ballantyne Gators’ little league team.

Chase was a star player on that Gators’ team, while Ty was a backup, offensive guard who rarely saw the field.

Chase, 17, is now a 6-foot-1, 216-pound senior, and Ty, 15, a 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore.

This season, both the Foleys will play the same positon as two of the six, Cougar linebackers in the main rotation.

Chase Foley will have to wait about a month to suit up this year, after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone is his left foot during an Aug. 7 practice, according to Charlotte Catholic head football coach, Mike Brodowicz.

But when he returns, the elder Foley headlines a group of three senior linebackers, with classmates, Tanner Dominick (35 tackles last year) and Alexei Strouse, also playing key roles.

Meanwhile, the other three linebackers that will be counted on to make plays, are all sophomores in Billy Brewer (led Catholic J.V. team in tackles last year), Ty Foley and Jacob Schachte.

Ironically, Chase Foley, was in the opposite position two years ago when he was a sophomore linebacker on the varsity.

Chase says he benefited greatly in the 2015 season by learning from a trio of then seniors in Xander Gagnon (now playing for Duke University), Greyson Krone and Matt White.

“Learning behind those seniors helped me a ton as a sophomore and I hope to do the same thing for the sophomores this year,” said Chase Foley, who can now bench 295 pounds, squat 410 pounds and run a 4.7, 40-yard dash. “Coach Brodowicz always preaches next man up. I was ready to play my sophomore year, but had a lot to learn. I know the sophomores this season feel the same way and they are going to have to step up. But, part of my job as a senior leader is to help get them ready to play.”

While Chase Foley is very vocal on the practice field with all of his teammates, Ty has the benefit of getting his older brother’s advice after practice, at home and when watching game film.

Coach Brodowicz understands their connection as he was mentored by his older brother, Mark Brodowicz, who was two years older and played the same position (quarterback) at Waynesboro High (VA). Mark Brodowicz went onto play quarterback for the Naval Academy, while Mike Brodowicz played quarterback at Elon University from 1982 to 1986.

“Chase does a great job of talking to all the linebackers,” said Brodowicz, noting this is the first, Charlotte Catholic brothers’ duo that he remembers playing the same position at the same time in 14 years at the school (four years’ head coach, 10 previous years as assistant). “But obviously, when Ty is riding to school with him every day and lives in the same house, you’re going to get more advice. …

“Ty has gotten to see this from his brother’s perspective. As brothers, you go through the highs and lows of a position. You learn through his experience. When you’re brother is the star linebacker, you’re not jealous, you embrace it. In fact, it gives you your own sort of swag.”

After registering just 29 tackles a sophomore (2015), Chase Foley earned the starting middle linebacker spot last year, and made the most of his opportunity with seven, double-figure tackle games, including 19 stops against Charlotte Christian and 17 tackles against East Forsyth in a playoff victory. The elder, Foley was at his best in the 2016 playoff run with 47 tackles in four games as the Cougars (13-2) came up one win short of playing for the 4A state championship game.

Chase Foley will look to build on his success when he hopes to return for the Monroe game, Sept. 22, according to Brodowicz.

But, in the meantime he will watch both his teammates and his younger brother, Ty, make name for themselves.

Ty grew two inches and gained 25 pounds, while spending a lot of time in the weight room this offseason, and believes it will pay off on the field. The younger Foley can now bench press 225 pounds, squat 315 and runs a 4.9, 40-yard dash.

“I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to play on the Catholic (varsity) with Chase because a lot of sophomore don’t get called up to varsity,” said Ty Foley, who was called up varsity for the playoffs last year and played on the kickoff and kickoff return teams. “But it’s a big deal to able to play with your brother on your high school team.”

Both of the Foley brothers are hoping that their final season together at Catholic has a storybook finish.

While Charlotte Catholic has been a state championship contender for decades, the Cougars have had one of the best three-year runs in school history from 2014-2016, going 42-4 in that span. Catholic 4A state runner-up in 2014 (14-2), 4A state champion in 2015 (15-0) and lost in the 4A state semifinals last year (13-2).

With 11 starters and 32 lettermen returning this year, Coach Brodowicz and company have the experience and talent to keep the run going in 2017.

“This (season) is something we (Ty and Chase) will remember for the rest of our lives, something we will still be talking about years from now when we are older,” Chase Foley said. “But to win a state championship my senior year, playing with Ty, would make it better. It’s going to a special season for both of us.”

No matter how this season plays out, Chase will be playing football at Lehigh University next fall (2018), while Ty — who also hopes to play college football one day — continues the family legacy at Charlotte Catholic.

The Foley brothers are finally on the same football team, they still enjoy competing with each other.

The battle for sibling supremacy is a constant motivation.

“I don’t think Ty has every beat me in anything,” said Chase Foley with a huge laugh. “Not football, not basketball, not in video games. Not in anything.”

“He (Chase) doesn’t throw me around anymore, I’m a lot bigger now,” Ty Foley said. “But nothing has really changed between us, we still compete at everything. I’d say I’m No. 1 at 2K (video game), ping pong and I’ve won a couple one-on-one basketball games, but I don’t know if he would agree with that. …

“Chase want to win at everything he does. He definitely doesn’t ever want to lose to his younger brother at anything.”

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: jedwardsjr23@gmail.com.

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