FORT WAYNE – Not that he agreed, Carroll junior Drue Tranquill instantly recognized the voice. Just a few feet away in the trainer’s room, younger brother Justin was trying to set the record straight or least get in his point of view.
You’re not faster than me, said Justin, a Carroll sophomore, with his voice echoing across the hallway to just outside the Carroll locker room.
Drue shrugged off the assertions of his little brother and continued.
It’s always good to have that competitive edge, you are always pushing yourself to get better and especially when you have a little brother who is right there on your heel, Drue said. Growing up it was always, who’s faster? I always had the edge, but I kept working hard to make sure.
The Tranquill brothers are the perfect example of a big-brother, little-brother rivalry that has served as the fuel on the football field and has helped Carroll (9-2) charge into the Class 5A sectional finals at home against South Bend Adams (7-4) a week after getting the program’s biggest win at No. 6 Penn.
Whether it be in Fort Wayne or Chattanooga, Tenn. (where the family lived five years ago), the Tranquills have been battling out in the backyard or the driveway or the baseball field and getting into the usual arguments, fights and altercations that are common among siblings. But that competitiveness and passion was never personal and only became the foundation for their now burgeoning athletic careers.
Drue is the team’s starting linebacker and receiver, along with getting time at the wildcat quarterback, and has been invited to the Junior Combine at the U.S. Army All-Star game Jan. 3-5 in San Antonio. Justin is a running back and defensive back, and both players are threats on special teams returning punts and kickoffs.
While dad Tony was an outstanding baseball player in his day, Justin said the brothers’ athletic abilities have come from grandfather Johnny King, or Big Daddy as they call him. There is athletic ability for both players and closeness in age that has helped the players get an edge growing up that they have brought to themselves, as well as the rest of the team.
I always wanted to be as good as him, Justin said. We’ve always been competitive growing up, but we pushed each other to get better and better. And it shows. He’s a great athlete, so as soon as I started to compete against other people, it was easier compared to what it was against him.
Coach says we have to invest in the lives of each other, and everyone does that. That’s a big part because we get to know each other and we push each other out on the field. Everything we do is family-oriented, it feels like. We get the wins together, and we lose together. It’s a great feeling.
A center fielder for Carroll, Drue said his college future will be in baseball whether along with football or not. He plays football, though, in large part because he gets to play with his younger brother. After Penn’s last-second field goal went awry in the Chargers’ 14-13 upset win last Friday, Drue shared an emotional brotherly hug with Justin seconds later.
In other words, speed kills most of the time but not when it comes to a brother’s bond.