Brotherly love is something that’s helped the La Crosse football program build a solid tradition through the years.
Each player is out there giving it his all for the others.
This year, that love might have even more of a family feel as the Leopards could have three sets of brothers on the field at one time.
Senior Jacob Showalter and his sophomore brother, Michael, and senior Brett Herrman and sophomore Blake Herrman, along with senior Zak Brown and sophomore Brock Brown, all are expected to see playing time this fall.
“When you have older and younger brothers, the younger brothers never want to admit how much they look up to their older brothers, and the older brothers never want to admit how much they look out for their younger brothers,” said head coach Jon Webster. “At our team camp this summer, Michael had some nice blocks — got some flat-backs on some people. That got Jacob going. So the younger kids step up and push their older brothers. And Brett does a great job of teaching Blake. They go home and talk and do a lot of communicating. It’s unique because a lot of times, those brothers bump heads. But they understand that they are doing what’s best for the football team. They are willing to put that pride aside to help the team.”
The Showalters are expected to play on the offensive line and help lead the way for a young backfield.
“We’re all really competitive,” Jacob Showalter said. “We all are brothers, really. My brother might be starting this year, and that makes me really excited because he’s been working his butt off. He’s not the biggest kid out there, and that just really shows how hard he’s working. As an older brother, that makes me feel good. Maybe he was looking up to me.”
The Herrmans will play as receivers on offense, and that connection has helped the two push each other.
“It’s funny, because one of his offensive spots is one I have as a starter,” Brett Herrman said. “Knowing that he is underneath me wanting to take my spot makes me work even harder. I think for him, knowing that I’m up there and him knowing that he could take my spot makes him work even harder. That’s a pretty good connection there and makes us work harder.”
Zak Brown will help carry the ball this fall, and his younger brother will see time on the line.
Jacob Showalter said he sees a lot of himself in his sophomore brother.
“I kind of do,” he said. “My freshman and sophomore year, I was kind of the shy guy. As I got to play with the varsity a bit more and seeing how everyone gets along, it helped. At times, we’ll argue a little bit. But at the end of the day, we’re family.”
Webster said the familial connections can help make the team stronger this fall.
“You always worry that maybe the brothers are pushing each other too far,” he said. “I grew up with brothers, and I can think of times when we pushed it too far. … Sometimes as a younger brother, you just don’t want to hear the older brother’s voice. But they realize we’re all working toward the same goal. Sometimes it’s better to have somebody else say something than your older brother.”