Brotherly love

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Jared Sparks (right) reunited with his younger brother, Adam (left) after his Purdue team's 35-3 victory over Adam's Missouri squad.

Last weekend, a Purdue vs. Missouri matchup took place that pinned two 1-1 teams against each other that are trying desperately to turn the corner and become contenders again in their respectable conferences.

The game didn’t get much attention nationally. It surely didn’t get a lot of play here in LSU Tiger country, but things were quite different in Ascension Parish.

Many football fans from the area watched closely as two of its best former players competed against each other.

Their bond wasn’t just Louisiana, it wasn’t just Ascension Parish and it wasn’t Dutchtown High. It was family.

For the first time, Missouri true freshman cornerback Adam Sparks played against his older brother, Purdue redshirt freshman quarterback/running back/receiver Jared Sparks in a college football game.

Both players had tremendous journeys to these two schools.

Jared was patient. He stood on the sideline for years, waiting for his turn to take over as the Griffins’ starting quarterback.

Still, even though he hadn’t become a starter yet, college scouts were already impressed with his physical tools. He committed to Southern Miss during the summer, following his junior season.

His turn to finally become Dutchtown’s starting quarterback came during his senior year.

He was superb as he led the Griffins to an 8-2 record, a share of the District 5-5A title and a trip to the second round of the playoffs. He was later named first-team all-district.

Jared eventually decided to change his commitment to Purdue and made it official on National Signing Day.

During Jared’s memorable senior campaign, Adam began to make a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball.

As a first-year starter at corner, he began to turn heads and rake in scholarship offers.

Before his senior season, he committed to Vanderbilt, but by the time signing day rolled around, he had picked up a Missouri offer that he thought was just too good to pass up.

So, he signed with the Tigers after a season in which he earned all-district and All-Parish honors.

Jared once again exhibited the kind of patience he showed at Dutchtown as he sat out his freshman season in order to redshirt.

Now, he is getting his share of playing time with the Boilermakers in a variety of different ways.

So far, Adam has seen a good bit of action as a true freshman for Missouri. He has been a special teams player and has also seen playing time at cornerback.

Having both brothers be talented enough to play each other in a Big 10 vs. SEC college football game should be no surprise, considering where they get their genes.

Their father, Kenyatta was a starting wide receiver for Southern back in his playing days. He was so good that he was later inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

Purdue won Saturday’s game, 35-3.

Jared ended up with six carries for 22 yards and one catch for six yards. Adam had a tackle in the game.

This meeting of two former Griffins was something that should make the parish and the school proud, but it’s certainly not the first time something like this has happened.

Sure, it’s the only time I can think of where two bothers played each other, but there have been many instances of former Dutchtown teammates facing off at the next level—or even being on the same team.

Currently, there are two Griffins on the Minnesota roster.

Redshirt sophomore Alonzo Craighton and true sophomore Coney Durr are both defensive backs for the Golden Gophers. Durr is still trying to make his way back onto the field after sustaining a serious knee injury in last year’s Holiday Bowl.

Durr and Craighton’s Gophers will meet Jared Sparks’ Boilermakers on Oct. 7

In the past, former Griffin running back Eddie Lacy and defensive back Landon Collins were teammates at Alabama. They won a national championship together in 2012-13.

While Lacy and Collins were still with the Crimson Tide, they played against former Griffin defensive back Eric Reid when he was an All-American at LSU.

And ever since they’ve moved on to the NFL, the three have found themselves on opposing sidelines.

The most memorable clash was when Reid’s 49ers played Lacy’s Packers in a 2014 playoff game at Green Bay. San Francisco won the game and reached the NFC Championship, before losing to eventual world champion, Seattle.

And within a year or two, we just might be getting another Dutchtown brother vs. Dutchtown brother matchup at the NFL level.

Eric Reid’s little brother, Justin is currently a starting safety at Stanford. When the junior decides to enter the draft, he’ll more than likely find a home at the professional level.

Maybe he’ll be teammates with Eric. Maybe he’ll become an opponent. Either way, it’ll be a another proud day for Dutchtown football.