Calvary cornerbacks Andraez and Rodarius Williams almost didn’t recognize themselves as they watched film from the 34-33 semifinals win against Catholic-New Iberia this past season.
The brothers, along with the majority of the Cavaliers, have had one more year to marinate together, and Andraez says he expects much better performances when No. 2 Calvary (11-1) meets No. 1 Catholic-New Iberia (12-0) for the Division III state championship Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“We were watching ourselves like, ‘Man, we look sorry,’” Andraez said. “In our heads, we were wondering how did we win?
“The way we were looking, we looked like we didn’t know what we were doing, and we looked lost. But we’ve gotten a lot better. We’ve talked to each other, had good bonding time, pushed each other in practice.”
Calvary marched on to the Division III championship with a 62-7 win against Archbishop Hannan.
Rodarius and Andraez form the corners of arguably one of the best secondaries in all of Louisiana — creating what they like to call a “no fly zone.”
Studying film together and talking pass defense are favorite pasttimes of the brothers, elite high school cornerbacks that test and sharpen each other.
“We have a lot more discipline, things like knowing where our eyes should go,” Rodarius said. “Having a brother cornerback helps me a lot because he sees the things I’m not doing right, and he’s able to address me on those things.
“We’re able to tell each other the little techniques we can work on. Things like opening our hips up too fast or not jamming at the right time. Our step dad (former Fair Park running back Lonnie Bryant) helps us, too. He’s a phemoneal coach.”
The brothers are part of a Calvary defense that’s forced 39 turnovers in 12 games. Interceptions account for 19 of those turnovers, and Rodarius has a team-high five interceptions with Andraez adding one.
And the brothers make it difficult on offenses to throw outside, forcing quarterbacks to look to the middle of the field.
Calvary safeties Jacorey Fuller (four interceptions), Jared Brown (two interceptions), Chanse Sylvie (one) and defensive back Hunter Hand (one) are four more of the 10 total Cavaliers with at least one interception this season.
Rodarius returned an interception for a touchdown to help break open a 46-27 win against Parkway in the season opener.
“It’s all trust. I know (Rodarius) has his man, and I’ve got my man,” Andraez said. “We shut down both sides of the field, and we have really good safeties and linebackers over the middle that are waiting for them.’’
Rodarius added, “(The turnovers) bring a lot of attention to us. If somebody gets caught on, we’re up in their face telling them they shouldn’t get on. You don’t want to get caught on and have your friends all in your face, so we hold each other accountable.”
Andraez has a nickname befitting a turnover-making cornerback — “Greedy.” But he earned that moniker long before stepping on the football field.
As a baby, “Greedy” could never eat enough, and he always cried for a second bottle.
Rodarius’ nickname “Lee Lee,” is the doubling of his middle name Lee. The brothers have “Aunt Shelia” to thank for the nicknames, and friends, coaches and even media members identify the brothers by their aunt-given nicknames.
Calvary coach John Bachman, Sr., says the cornerbacks also have an experienced defensive staff to thank for a unit that collectively has allowed 15 points per game, including allowing 10 points per game against Class 2A opponents.
The Cavaliers trounced a vaunted No. 3 Riverside offense in a 45-13 semifinals win.
“First of all they’ve got the ability, but John Jr. has been coaching secondaries a long time and (defensive coordinator) Ronnie Alexander has been doing this a long time,” Bachman Sr. said.
“Josh Alexander and Chase Pittman complete the defensive staff … and these kids with ability are getting coached up.
“Ability is nice to have, and you can’t win a Kentucky Derby with a mule. But you’ve also got to take these young men from point A to point B.”
The brothers’ trust extends to the rest of the defense as well.
“We trust the linebackers to stop the run and the defensive line to rush the passer,” Andraez said. “We trust our defensive backs to lock down.
Added Rodarius, “We all relate very well … and we’re able to get in each other’s faces. We think of each other as a family.”
Everything is a competition between the brothers from video games like Madden and NBA2K or who can intercept Calvary quarterback Shea Patterson the most.
Both agreed that Rodarius is the better trash talker, just before Bachman asked if they’ve discussed “their mouths” yet.
But which brother is the better cornerback? “We’re both lock down guys,” Andraez said.
That competition could continue into the college ranks.
The brothers are both juniors even though Rodarius is a year older, and they both hold scholarship offers from Mississippi State and Utah.
Andraez (6-foot-1, 159 pounds) has also been offered by LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M among others, even garnering a visit from Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin at Tuesday’s practice. One source said Sumlin is looking at multiple Calvary players.
Rodarius (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) doesn’t have any other offers currently, but he said the brothers are considering playing at the same university.
“We talk a lot about things of that nature, about playing at the same college,” Rodarius said. “We wouldn’t want to go to college and compete for one spot.
“We would want to be on the field together, and if we were able to do that, we would go to the same college. But also, I really want to compete against him, too. Our mom has a great desire that we play college football together.”
But before the brothers choose the color of their college uniform, they want to add a ring for their second hand.