Ask most budding high school football players about their most memorable moment on the gridiron and they'll probably recall that one twisting, juking and tackle-breaking run that they concluded by scoring a touchdown. Or, they'll quickly relate a story about some bone-crushing hit that they applied to an enemy ball carrier, jarring the ball loose and saving the game.
East (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
lineman Dylan Brett
, the second of three sons of former Kansas City Royals great George Brett, simply went into detail about the time that he spent playing for Lancer coach Chip Sherman with his older brother Jackson at his side.
As a junior Dylan manned the right guard slot while sporting a No. 66 Lancer jersey. Jackson, a senior last fall, anchored the Shawnee Mission East offensive line at center, and wore 67.
"Our entire line had good communication," Dylan Brett affirmed without hesitation last week. "But playing next to Jackson was special. There were times that I had to get on him for missing a block or something like that, just like I would with any of the other guys. But we had a blast playing together."
George, who earned First-Team All-Pioneer League honors at defensive back for El Segundo High School in Los Angeles following his junior and senior high school football seasons, was just happy to see his boys getting along.
"They used to fight a lot," the Hall of Fame third baseman said. "Once they started playing on the same team, together, it was amazing how close they had become. Now they're as close as any two brothers I know. Robin too. They're all athletic, all pretty good kids and they get along."
When Dylan missed last season's 28-24 loss to Olathe South in the first round of the Kansas Class 6A state football playoffs due to an ankle injury, Jackson was upset following the final high school football game of his career.
"I congratulated them on their effort because they had played really hard out there," George remembered. "I mean they really laid it all on the line. They played very well. But Jackson just looked at me and said, ‘You don't understand. If Dylan had been playing we would have won the game.'"
Because he and his brothers were born following their father's playing days, Dylan wasn't able to follow his father around to the different major league ballparks. But that doesn't mean George's go-hard-all-the-time style of play didn't rub off on his son.
"I play the game right," Dylan said. "He's always had a great work ethic, and I've picked up on that."
George has always been active in Dylan's athletic career, coaching all three of his sons' baseball teams up until the beginning of their high school careers. The three-time batting champion, along with his wife and Dylan's mother Leslie, supported Dylan and his brothers in whatever other endeavors they have pursued athletically.
Despite the success George Brett has achieved professionally, he does not make a habit of interfering with the counsel of Dylan's coaches. George just wants his boys to respect the game, and have fun playing.
"Fight and do the best that you can," George said. "I'm not going to get on them or gripe or anything like that, as long as the effort is there. That's all that I can ask of them. It may have been easier for me in this and that. But if they hustle 100-percent of the time on the field, that's all that I can ask of my kids. Dylan does that, and so does Jackson. Robin does too."
Dylan is also a catcher and a pitcher for the Lancer baseball team and he hopes to carry Shawnee Mission East deep into the Kansas Class 6A State Baseball playoffs next spring. He despises giving up hits when he takes the mound and doesn't get intimidated.
When he's on the football field, however, Dylan can be very intimidating and he loves to hit. He began playing flag football in the third grade and soon graduated to playing tackle football. He fell in love with the game right away, and never considered quitting.
"The contact is fun and it's a great team sport," Dylan said. "Everyone works together and my friends play, so I don't know why I wouldn't. I'm a pretty physical kid. I love going nose-to-nose with other guys and beating them. That's always fun."
During Dylan's freshman season, the Lancers struggled through a 3-6 year in 2008. Since then, however, Sherman has turned the Sunflower League program into a perennial playoff contender, guiding the Lancers to a pair of playoff berths in 2009 and 2010.
With 31 lettermen and nine starters back from last season's 8-2 campaign, Sherman has high expectations for Dylan and his senior teammates in their final go-around.
"Our chances of success are much greater with Dylan on the team," Sherman said. "Dylan will will us to success. If we need a yard, we're going to run behind Dylan because he will find a way to get that yard. He will find a way to get it done."
Like his coach, Dylan has enormous expectations for the 2011 football season. Of course, a state championship is at the top of his list. But staying healthy isn't far behind. Dylan has not made it through a full Lancer football season yet.
As a freshman, he missed four games with a stress fracture in his back and after five contests during his sophomore season, required shoulder surgery. In 2010, he broke his ankle about halfway through a 21-10 win over Shawnee Mission West.
He then missed the 28-12 regular season-ending win over Shawnee Mission South and the playoff loss to the Falcons. But Dylan isn't focused on past injuries — his eyes are set squarely on the upcoming Lancer football schedule.
He is gearing up for a pair of home contests in the earlier stages of the season. In week two, the Lancers will bump heads with 2010 state semifinalist Olathe East and then the Lancers will try to get a little payback against last season's Class 6A state quarterfinalist Olathe South during fourth-week action.
Both enemy squads have received mention as being two of the favorites to win it all in Kansas' largest football classification in 2011.
"Those are going to be battles," Dylan said. "The rest of our games are winnable. We should have a great regular season. If we play our game, we should win the rest of them. Once you hit the playoffs everybody picks it up a little bit. So once we reach that point in the season, there is no telling what might happen."
Dylan, a two-time letterwinner in baseball so far in his prep career, will probably earn his second moniker in football this fall. The 6-foot-2-inch, 265-pound senior will be making a switch from guard to left tackle in 2011.
He is also scheduled for a ton of playing time at defensive tackle, and described himself as having a quick first step, good leverage and plenty of strength to get the job done.
"I can move just about anybody," he said. "I like to get after the ball and make tackles. I like to hit people."