Herald JournalHerald and Journal, Nov. 18, 2002

Brown brothers: from the backyard to the state tournament

By Aaron Schultz

It was not all that long ago when twin brothers Alex and Andrew Brown played a little one-on-one football in their backyard, with dad, Jim Brown, being all-time quarterback.

Fast forwarding, the brothers helped lead the Holy Trinity of Winsted Trojans to a Section 4A championship this season, and a state tournament berth.

It was the first time in 13 years that the Trojans had been in the state tournament.

Unfortunately for the Trojans, and the Browns, their season came to an end with a first-round loss to a very good Rushford-Peterson team.

With the loss, a chapter of Holy Trinity football came to an end, a chapter that went on for some time.

Alex and Andrew, seniors this season, are three-year letter winners, and have seen varsity action for four years. But it goes back longer than that.

As the boys were growing up, they patrolled the sidelines as waterboys, ballboys, or any other way they could help the Trojans, and dad, head coach Jim Brown.

While Andrew and Alex showed up for the Trojan practices as youngsters, there was no organized football for them until they reached junior high.

"There were some fierce battles in the backyard between them though," said Jim Brown.

Growing up on the sidelines, Alex and Andrew both recalled their most memorable moment came when the Trojans, then in the Tri-Valley Conference, played St Paul Academy in the Metrodome. All the teams in the conference played a game there.

In junior high, Alex and Andrew were lineman, but that all changed one summer day in the Brown's backyard before their freshman season.

"Tony (Kielkucki), the Trojans' junior varsity coach, saw Alex throw the football, and said he had his junior varsity quarterback. Not many kids move from center to quarterback in one season," said Jim Brown.

While many might think with your dad as a head football coach you would get pushed or groomed for a glamour position such as quarterback, that was not the case for Alex.

"I never really pushed the boys to play a specific position, but it just all came together," said Jim Brown.

Alex saw some time at quarterback, on the varsity level, as a freshman. His first varsity pass went for a touchdown against Concordia Academy.

After his freshman season, Alex was entrenched as the Trojan quarterback, and played in the secondary on defense as a sophomore and senior.

While Alex played quarterback, Andrew got down and dirty in the offensive and defensive line.

Playing quite a bit as a freshman at defensive end, Andrew became a mainstay at defensive tackle and offensive tackle for three seasons.

Both Alex and Andrew look like football players, as Alex is listed at 6'2" 200 pounds, and Andrew is listed at 6'3" 293 pounds. Not bad for high school kids.

It is not only their size that is outstanding, it is the fact that they are both very healthy young men.

Alex and Andrew were born eight weeks premature to their mother, Ann.

They were 4 pounds 12 ounces, and 3 pounds 9 ounces respectively at birth, and were in intensive care for over three weeks at Abbot Northwestern Hospital.

Both Alex and Andrew pulled through their early age struggles, and both have been very healthy ever since, unless you count stitches.

According to Ann, Alex has needed stitches six different times, for reasons ranging from falling on the playground to playing football.

The last time Alex needed stitches came during his sophomore season, in the opening game against Eden Valley-Watkins.

"It was the first series Alex was in at quarterback, and on the first play, on a triple option, part of a helmet caught his arm, and opened it wide up," Jim said.

Alex was transported to Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield for stitches. "We made it back in time to get on the bus," Alex said.

Aside from that incident, both Andrew and Alex have been very healthy on the football field, which should serve them well as they look to extend their football careers.

Andrew intends on going to college at either South Dakota State University or St. John's University. "I am not sure which one yet, but I want to play football," Andrew said.

Alex is a little less sure where he wants to go. "I'm not sure yet where I am going to go, but I would like to play football," Alex said.

Dad, a St. John's alum, has his preference, but knows it is Alex's and Andrew's decisions to make.

"Both South Dakota State and St. John's are good places for them to go, but we will just have to see how everything works out," said Jim.

Talking to Alex and Andrew about some highlights of their football career, both mentioned that winning the Section 4A championship as being on the top of the list.

Dad made sure to throw in Andrew's touchdown this season, on a fumble recovery.

Through the course of their playing days, both feel they have improved in certain areas of the game. Alex says he sees the field better, and that just having all those years of experience have helped him play quarterback.

Andrew, on the other hand, believes that he has improved getting off the ball faster, and moving his feet better.

Both Alex and Andrew commented that they liked playing for their dad.

"I didn't really notice anything different about coaching my sons, from coaching my other players. I am sure it will hit me next year, when I look around and they are not here," said Jim Brown.

From the backyard, to the state tournament, to who knows? One thing is for sure, football is surely to be a part of wherever Alex and Andrew go from here.

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