In Utah, there are 25 teams in the 3A division, seven in Region 9.
The chances of playing in the state football championship at the end of the season are pretty slim.
The chance of winning on the biggest stage of high school sports with your own flesh and blood is even slimmer. When Dixie punched their ticket to the big show after beating Juan Diego last week, it gave Tyson and Gavin Graff the opportunity to do just that.
“After the (Juan Diego) game, me and my brother came together and we just hugged each other because it’s just such an awesome thing,” said Tyson, the older of the two brothers. “To have your brother there with you through all this, it’s just, it’s amazing.”
On Friday at 11 a.m., the Flyers face off against Spanish Fork, giving the Brothers Graff a chance to achieve a goal that began long before they were even born.
The Graff brothers come from a long line of Dixie Flyers.
Their parents met at Dixie, where their father Travis played football and baseball. Three of their uncles played for the Big Blue and their grandfather Lloyd took snaps as a Flyer.
But the gravity of Friday’s opportunity extends beyond familial relationships.
All this hit home for the boys while watching a video presentation, put together by the coaches that showed the history of Dixie High football from 1911 to the present day.
“It would light up every year they won a state championship. Three in a row in the 70’s,” said Tyson. “Every time it ticks down and comes to 2012, I just get a feeling that this is the year.”
With no championships in the immediate family, Gavin shared that his father is just as excited as the boys are. And, according to their mother Tiffany, she and their father have always told their kids to be better than them, so Gavin chose number 52 so he could one up his dad, who wore 51.
Both Gavin and Tyson are carrying 4.0 cumulative GPAs. Tyson, one of the star linebackers for the Flyers, is on track for valedictorian and will receive recognition for academic all-state during halftime of Friday’s championship game.
The Graff brothers are part of a storied Flyers football history and have excelled in both academics and in their positions, but what lies ahead is more than just about them, their family, and football players of the past.
It has taken an entire team effort to get the 2012 Flyers squad within 48 minutes of that end goal.
Head coach Blaine Monkres commented on what role unity has played in his team’s championship run.
“It means that you can trust your teammate just like your brother. A lot of work from everybody has gotten us to where we’re at. A lot of trust and loyalty. We’ve got each other’s backs,” said Monkres. “Teams talk about it. Kids say it. But this group really believes it.”
With Tyson in his senior year, the time has come for the Graff family to possibly reap the benefits of years of hard work.
“Since we were little kids, we’ve circled this year on the calendars. This was the year,” said Gavin Graff, the younger of two brothers playing on the Dixie squad. “If we were ever going to do it, it was going to be this year.”