09/09/05 — Sibling rivalry -- ECSU-FSU contest pits brother against brother

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Sibling rivalry -- ECSU-FSU contest pits brother against brother

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 9, 2005 2:28 PM

FAYETTEVILLE -- It's a family affair -- literally.

When Elizabeth City State and Fayetteville State get together on Saturday night in Fayetteville, the contest will pit brother vs. brother as siblings and Goldsboro High graduates Cameron Bryant (ECSU) and Jarrett Bryant (FSU) -- both offensive lineman -- will try to help push their teams to their second win of the season.

The local flavor in Saturday's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) game doesn't stop there.

The Bryant brothers are two of nine players in the contest that graduated from a Wayne County school -- seven are Goldsboro High grads. Also, ECSU assistant Elvin James is a former head coach at Goldsboro.

"It's going to be exciting. To get two teams where the kids know each other is going to be very competitive," James said. "It's bragging rights, and we feel like they have a great ballclub. We also feel like we have the athletes that can get the job done."

With just one day left before kickoff, Cameron and Jarrett's mother, Veronica Bryant, is decidedly undecided on who she wants to win. With both of her sons on the offensive side of the ball, along with their cousin Stanley Bryant -- a starting tight end for ECSU -- she admits, "she'll just be pulling for a lot of touchdowns."

Clearly, she wants both to succeed.

"I'm just going for both of them. Whoever wins, I'll be proud for whoever pulls it off," she said. "I won't favor one over the other. I just tell them both to do their best. That's about it."

Veronica Bryant said about 20 family and friends will make the quick trek to Fayetteville to catch the contest, which is slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Both second-string players, Cameron (Jr., RT) and Jarrett (Fr., RG), both admit their has been some smack-talking over the last week about the game. Still, they also both know that football is a team sport and any sibling rivalry isn't near as important as taking care of business between the lines.

"I'm excited about the game. It's my first time playing against my brother," Jarrett Bryant said. "Plus having Stan and some other former teammates over there, like Raphael (McNair) and Ronnie (McClary) ... It will be exciting to see them, because I never got to see them on the other side.

"But, I'm not going to let it affect me, because it's a team thing. We're going to try to do it as a team."

Last year, the Broncos blanked the Vikings, 17-0 -- grabbing a road win in Elizabeth City. FSU is coming off of an 8-4 overall, 6-1 CIAA finish in 2004, while ECSU (3-7 overall) went 2-5 in league play.

Each is 1-1 going into Saturday's contest, but the Broncos have not lost at home to a CIAA opponent since 2001.

McClary (Jr.), one of four former Cougars that sees time on the Viking line, believes his teams' ability to run the ball will be a big factor in the outcome and whether or not ECSU can snap FSU's streak.

"If we can establish the run, we can do pretty well," McClary said. "We know our defense will come to play, so we've got to come to play."

Obviously, a CIAA championship for either team won't ride strictly on the outcome of this game. But with all the local talent on the field, it's easy to understand the emphasis each side is putting on this early-season contest.

"We've had some discussions back-and-forth, but there's no more talking now. We only have a day left," Jarrett Bryant said.