Devonte Minter wanted something else. He wanted to meet new people, learn new football techniques.
So the Pee Wee footballer decided to switch teams, leaving the A.G. Gaston Broncos and all his friends for the Wylam Gators.
Eugene Minter – his cousin and sports co-worker, best bud and pigskin rival, remained.
“We always had this rivalry where we wanted to play against each other,” explained Devonte, now a senior at Parker.
So he changed rosters in the 105-lbs. football league.
“I separated from him because I wanted to play against him,” Devonte added. Suddenly, both teams had a Minter wearing a No. 5 jersey.
Fast forward nearly a decade. This week, as Parker prepares to play Carver-Birmingham on Thursday, The Minter cousins are back on the same sideline.
Devonte (Woo) is a hard-hitting safety and receiver. And Eugene (Maine) plays safety and receiver, with the offensive body type (6-4, 195 lbs.) and hands that have attracted Division I schools. This family combination has helped the Thundering Herd amass a 5-2 record this season, including 3-2 in Class 5A, Region 5.
Their goal is to build a football reputation with the family name. So far, so good.
“They push each other,” said Parker coach Andrew Robinson. “They’re not brothers – they’re first cousins – but you can kind of see that sibling rivalry come up between both of them.”
Devonte (6-1, 200 lbs.), is a senior; Eugene a junior. Devonte is better on defense. Eugene is the tutor when it comes to offense.
Robinson said Louisville, Florida, Purdue, Georgia and others have inquired about Eugene. Middle Tennessee has a lot of interest in Devonte, Robinson added. Both players are waiting for their first offer.
Both players have embraced change, dating back to their Pee Wee days.
Eugene, for example, embraces contact. Years earlier, he may have run out of bounds after making a catch near the sidelines. Now, he’s ready to drop his shoulder and drop a defender.
“We got him last spring, and he was green as grass,” Robinson said of Eugene. “He didn’t know anything. As the season went on last year, he got better and better. This year, he’s coming into his own. And I’m looking forward to seeing him grow in the spring. By the end of spring and being in the weight room, he’s really going to be a D1 prospect.”
Nowadays, Devonte said he’s no longer a hot head. No longer do officials’ calls perplex him.
Eugene said it’s easy to balance his football and family. Their friendly competition, as longstanding as it is, ranks second to their friendship.