Jacob Windsor skies for the football, battling the sun, wind and a much taller receiver in the process. Beating all those elements, he manages to bat the pass away from its intended target and into the hands of a defensive teammate who races away from the competition for an easy score.
Of course, when your last name is Windsor, plays like that are supposed to happen in practice and on the field.
Last season, the defensive side of the ball belonged to Windsorís older brother Gage who starred for Midlothian since joining the varsity roster as a sophomore. Now, itís Jacobís turn.
ďIíve got big shoes to fill obviously because Gage was one of the leading tacklers but Iím ready to step up, ready to show them what Iíve got. Iím fired up for this season,Ē Jacob said.
The younger Windsor is no stranger to varsity football. He spent all last fall on the junior varsity roster but lined up every day at practice against those varsity players. As a cornerback, he had the duty of covering the veteran wide receiver unit the Panthers fielded last fall while trying to stop passes from record-setter Dillon Fairbanks.
All those hours of practice appear to have paid off as Jacob is rising quickly on the defensive depth chart in spring practice. Practicing against the varsity squad has helped but when youíve got a brother who has been in your shoes there are lessons to be learned. Even if theyíre learned the hard way.
ďItís brotherly love or tough love. More like (him saying) I need to get in there more which Iím doing but itís hard at corner. But Iím doing the best I can,Ē Jacob says.
The good news for Jacob is that he isnít going at it alone. There is another player in that defensive secondary with a family lineage to continue. Sort of.
Joseph Johnson understands the life of a younger brother to a talented football player just as well as Jacob does. Johnson spent the last few years watching his older brother Eddie haul in accolade after accolade for his work on the football field as a prolific high school receiver. Eddie, a 2010 graduate of Midlothian, enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy after high school and will spend this season at Navarro Junior College before enrolling at a Division I school, most likely Baylor where he signed out of high school.
While he may be the younger brother, Joseph offers an alternate theory on why Eddie has had as much success as heís had Ė when you play against the best, you get pretty good.
ďMy brother Eddie, he canít stop me. He gets over here, the defense is going to kill him. He ainít got nothing on me,Ē Joseph jokes.
Two things are certain about both Joseph and Jacob Ė they are talented players and they both have high aspirations for the Midlothian football program just like their brothers before them.
Both players have received plenty of work on the defensive side of the ball already this spring and will continue to battle for starting spots among a very young unit. Each player knows the family reputation at Midlothian and both are ready to continue that tradition.
However, theyíre both ready to start a new one as well and earn something their brothers werenít able to Ė a playoff berth. Itís a goal they believe is possible with a little hard work and commitment, traits that run in the family business.
ď(The coaches) stay on you 24-7, every single time. They stay on us. Itís just hard work and hustle. (Defensive coordinator) coach (Chris) King stays on us, our cornerback coaches, our defensive coaches, they just stay on us,Ē Johnson said. ďTheyíre never going to take their foot off the pedal because they know weíve got what it takes to make it to the playoffs this year.Ē
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