Tom Mix, Published September 19 2012
Bruins brothers get their kicks doing double-duty
The Weiler brothers both play midfield for the Fargo South boys soccer team and also lend their kicking services to the Bruins football team on Friday evenings.
Jacob, a 6-foot-1 senior, and Josh, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, share football kicking duties. Jacob handles kickoffs and field goals and Josh takes care of the extra-point attempts.
The kicking-by-committee approach has helped the North Dakota Class 3A, No. 4-ranked Bruins football team to a 3-1 start and was something both Jacob and Josh were on board with.
“I was a little nervous about taking over all by myself next year,” Josh said. “We kind of figured he could do the field goals and kickoffs because he can kick farther and I would do the extra points just so I could get some game experience in.”
Josh is 22 of 23 in extra points and also has one field goal.
Jacob, who did all of the Bruins’ kicking duties last season, hasn’t seen a decline in his kicks despite the shortened workload.
He has three field goals, including a 52-yarder against Fargo North on Sept. 7, which broke a school record of 47 yards previously held by Shaun Braunagel in 2001.
“I saw it was 47 last year and I had hit a long field goal against West Fargo,” Jacob said. “I said, ‘I want to do that next year and challenge myself.’ It was a perfect opportunity and everything worked out. The snap, the hold was great and it went in. It was a great moment.”
Juggling the schedules of both sports has made for some busy days for Jacob and Josh, but so far it has worked.
“If you can have a good kicking game, it goes a long way in high school football,” South head football coach Troy Mattern said. “To boot, they are good kids and they are competitive in nature amongst themselves. Being able to get them on the field at the same time has been neat as well.
“They are not just kickers. They work at it. They were out here throughout the summer getting better with field goals and extra points.”
Prior to kicking full time on the junior varsity team last year, Josh had never played organized football. He looked to Jacob for guidance.
“Jacob played football when he was younger and has helped me learn the rules,” Josh said. “I got them down now.”
Jacob and Josh practice kicking twice a week. The rest is spent patrolling the midfield for South’s soccer club, which is undefeated at 9-0-3 and is in first place in the Eastern Dakota Conference standings with a 6-0-2 mark.
“Soccer is by far my favorite,” Jacob said. “I spend hours watching games on the weekend, but when I get on the football field, under the lights, football is first right then and there. At any other point of the week, soccer is definitely first.”
Fargo South soccer head coach Dean Hashbarger said Jacob and Josh are very similar soccer players and has been impressed with their play.
“It works well for us,” Hashbarger said of playing Jacob and Josh at the same position. “They get along with one another so well and just have such a wonderful concept of the game. They understand what they are supposed to be doing out there.”
The Bruins host East Grand Forks at 7 p.m. today.
Soccer is the priority for both Jacob and Josh, but splitting time between both teams has created a few beat-the-clock moments.
The night the Weilers kicked against the Spartans, they had previously played a varsity soccer match across town against Eden Prairie.
“It is definitely manageable, but the last couple weeks it has been pretty tough,” said Jacob, who is undecided on where he will play college soccer. “The football coaches know that we have to do soccer first and then once soccer is over, football is the priority and helping the team out.”
All the while, the Weilers are together whether bending passes on the pitch or sending the pigskin through the uprights.
“Not only has Jacob been a great teammate, he has been a really good big brother too,” Josh said. “Before he goes to college, this is all the time I have with him, so it has been nice to spend so much time with him. He has helped me out a lot.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562