When Shadow Hills (Indio, Calif.) senior linebacker Quintcy Egson rushes the passer, he’s looking to hammer the quarterback, get him to the ground with force, maybe separate him from the ball.
This Friday, when Quintcy bears down on the La Quinta quarterback, it will come with a moral dilemma. You see the Blackhawks’ QB is his little brother Christian.
“I’m still gonna hit him … but then I’m gonna help him up,” Quintcy said with a smile.
Yes it will be brother against brother on Friday in a crucial DVL matchup between the Knights and Blackhawks when Quintcy, a senior linebacker for Shadow Hills, and Christian, the sophomore quarterback for La Quinta, square off.
As for getting hit and helped up, Christian said not so fast.
“I’ve got a little something ready for him maybe,” Christian said when asked if he’s been saving his best juke move for his brother.
Father Quinton Egson probably said it best when asked what it would be like for one son to lay a big hit on the other: “I told Quintcy, ‘You can sack him, just don’t crack him.’ Ha. Tackle him, but you can’t knock him out of the game.”
So let’s take a few steps back from Friday night and answer the question of how two football-playing siblings ended up at different schools anyway.
Quintcy chose to attend Shadow Hills four years ago, partly with the hope of playing football with his cousin, Knights star Tony Williams who is currently a running back for College of the Desert. It worked. Quintcy was a sophomore on the team when Williams was a senior.
A couple years later when Christian was deciding on schools, he favored La Quinta because that’s where most of his friends were going. He wasn’t even 100 percent sure he was going to play football at that point.
“Christian had a good group of friends, and they were all going to La Quinta,” said Quinton Egson, the boys’ father and the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coachella Valley. “He was indecisive and at the last minute he said ‘I’m going to go to La Quinta.’ And I said ‘If you keep your grades up, you can go wherever you want.’ And he’s happy and I’m happy with his choice. But I’ll be honest, I had this idea of maybe seeing Christian throw a few touchdown passes to his big brother at some point, but that’s not going to happen.”
If it does happen Friday, it would have to be an interception returned for a touchdown by Quintcy, the older brother who also wouldn’t have minded being on the same team as his little bro.
“It was a bittersweet moment (when Christian chose La Quinta) because I wanted him to stay with me because he’s my little brother, but I wanted him to do his own thing as well,” Quintcy said. “Whatever’s best for him, I’m fine with.”
So ever since that decision was made, the Egson household knew that this day would likely come. When Christian won the starting quarterback job as a sophomore before this season it was official. On Oct. 13, it would by Egson vs. Egson.
It’s tough on the kids playing in the game, of course, but the rest of the family is going to have some tough decisions to make as well.
Quinton alleviated the problem of which team’s colors to wear. He got a custom-made polo shirt that has the La Quinta logo on one side and the Shadow Hills logo on the other with the boys’ numbers on them.
“The biggest problem is they’re not going to know where to sit,” Quintcy said of dad, mom Christina and little sisters Rose (7) and Jossalyn (5). “Maybe they can sit in the middle behind the goal post or something.”
Sibling rivalry aside, the game itself is important. La Quinta is 2-0 in DVL play and Shadow Hills is 2-1. A second loss for Shadow Hills would effectively end their hopes of a league title. A win, though, and they are right in the mix.
Christian said he’s trying to treat it like any DVL game, all of which are important, but he admits there is a little something extra about this one.
“Every DVL game is big, but this one will be more intense, I guess I would say,” Christian said. “I feel like I’ve been playing OK, but I’ve left some things on the table that could have been better. I really want to come out in this game and make it my best game of the season.”
And this isn’t just a pair of siblings who happen to be on opposing rosters. Both are starters and impactful players on their teams. Christian has 745 yards passing and four touchdowns to go with three interceptions for the run-heavy Blackhawks. Quintcy leads the Knights in tackles with 57, including nine for a loss and two sacks.
Quintcy said the fact that his little brother is the opposing quarterback has not been lost on his Shadow Hills teammates.
“Definitely. They’ll be asking me like ‘Oh, are you gonna crack your little brother?’ or ‘Can he give some of their plays?’ It’s crazy,” he said.
The talk around the dinner table this week has actually not been as boisterous as usual. Both brothers have been pretty tight-lipped about the game, trying to play it cool.
But Quinton says don’t let that fool you.
“It’s funny because they’re both so competitive. Christian is a bit more reserved and stays a little more subdued about it, while Quintcy just puts it out there,” Quinton said. “They both want to beat each other, though, and this is that opportunity.
“I asked Christian about it and he said something like ‘It’s just another game to me.’ But let’s be real. We all know that’s not the truth.”
So once the game is over and the two teams are shaking hands, what is that moment going to be like for them?
“Pretty much like any other game,” Christian said, but then Quintcy jumped in with a joke: “Unless we lose, then I’ll never talk to you again.”
That was a joke, right?