One was a defensive end, one was a quarterback, but when mixed together they’ve combined into a solid linebacker duo.
That’s the belief of Appoquinimink head coach Brian Timpson when he looks at E.J. Brister and Josh Parson, who will anchor the middle of a Jaguar defense looking to repeat the school history the team made last fall.
“We finished 5-5 two years in a row where we played a game where if we win and we’re in and we lost, and last year we played a game where if we win we’re in and we won. We were able to beat William Penn and make the playoffs. I think the idea of almost making it, and then feeling what it actually is, are totally different things. This group of kids felt it, they went down to Sussex Central, and lost to the eventual state champs. The atmosphere that they saw, and the extra week of practice, they carried. They want to go back, and they want to go further. The seniors have led the way this summer.”
E.J. Brister, remembers his freshman year, when he met Josh, who was a sophomore at the time.
“The first time I met him was in football, and he was playing quarterback, actually. He eventually made the move to linebacker and I went ‘this kid is playing linebacker?’ I was an offensive lineman and he was much smaller than me, but ever since then we’ve been the same personality and like the same person.
“Me and Josh have been best friends since freshman year of high school. So we already had that click. When I made the move to linebacker last year, it was natural. We just knew had to play next to each other, and our styles really contemplated each other.”
Brian Timpson confirmed that their personality types mesh together well, and feels together they might be the best linebacker combo in the state.
“Josh is very smart. He can dissect an offense. He knows exactly what’s coming. And there’s his voice, it carries it around to everyone. All 11 guys on the field know what to do, and he lets them know what to do. And then the energy that E.J. brings with the strength. Watching E.J. go sideline to sideline, he starts in the middle and go right or he can go left, they can cover a lot of space. You can run away from one, but you’ll have to deal with the other. They just pair well with each other and pick each other’s up. They make a big play and the stadium rocks, and it’s because of those two guys.”
For E.J., being around Josh is just fun.
“We both like to goof around, have fun, and sometimes we like to be bullies a little bit. He reminds me of me.”
Josh is quick to throw more of the credit on his teammate.
“He’s the brains and the brawn, and I’m here helping him out. He’s middle linebacker, he holds it down, and together we work well, great chemistry.”
That led to an easy follow-up question: If he’s the brains and the brawn, what are you?
“I’m there cleaning things up. [laughs]”
E.J. said the Jaguars would love another chance in the postseason, saying they learned a lot from the 36-7 loss to Sussex Central.
“Everything that you do in a playoff game can come back to bite you. In a regular season game, we can make a mistake and get it back, but in a playoff game everything counts, so you have to be top notch and on your game all of the time.”
Appoquininik’s path back to the postseason won’t be easy, they play Caesar Rodney, Salesianum, and Saint Mark’s in their out-of-conference schedule, and if it comes down to Week 10 again, preseason conference favorite Hodgson will be a tough challenge.
It’s one that E.J. Brister and Josh Parson are eager to tackle, together.
JAGUARS NOTES: Appo will need to break in 4 offensive linemen to join left tackle RJ Dugue, Kyle Swarter, CJ Beatie, Collin Dempsey, and Jake Phipps look to have the upper hand… There’s also an ongoing QB battle between sophomores in 6’6” Ryan vonBrandt and Mac Krauss… All-Conference running back Jordan Henry will be joined by his brother Justin, and Warren Grooms in the backfield, with receiver Emmanuel Osiegbu looking to have a big sophomore year as well.