By Matt Wiley
The teams are set, and two brothers, Jim and John Harbaugh, the head coaches of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, respectively, will face off against each other in Super Bowl XLVII. A similar story played out recently, a story which began in nearby Wesley Chapel.
Young football players dream of playing in college and of, hopefully, one day making it to the professional ranks and perhaps making it into the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) National Championship college game and/or the Super Bowl. But, for two former Wesley Chapel High (WCH) Wildcats football players, this dream has become a reality. However, neither Hunter nor Kamran Joyer ever dreamed that they would be playing against his brother in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Hunter Joyer, 19, is a 5’10,” 249-lb. sophomore fullback at the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. His older brother Kamran, 22, is a 6’3,” 270-pound offensive lineman in his junior year at the University of Louisville (Kentucky). On January 2, those two teams squared off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to see which team would taste sweet victory in the Sugar Bowl.
Unfortunately for Hunter, Kamran and the No. 21 (at that time) Louisville Cardinals walked away the victors, defeating the then-No. 3 Gators, 33-23.
Hunter says that the only feeling that went through his mind when he found out that he and the Gators would be playing Kamran and the Cardinals was absolute shock.
“It didn’t really sink in until the day before the game,” he explains. “I thought, ‘Is this real? Is this really happening?’”
Kamran says that his reaction was very similar.“I was really excited,” Kamran explains. “We always knew that it could happen, but what were the chances?”
Although Kamran started the game at right guard, the brothers didn’t actually get to share any time on the field together, since both play offensive positions. But, in the spirit of brotherly competition, Hunter jokes that it “definitely” would have gone in his favor if they had actually faced one another.
“I saw him across the field on the other sideline a couple of times during the game,” Kamran says. “It was definitely different.”
Playing against each other would have been a first for the brothers, who previously played two seasons together for the Wildcats. Kamran graduated from WCH in 2009, after which Hunter transferred to Tampa Catholic and played his last two seasons of high school football before returning to WCH, the school he graduated from in 2011. Both went to their respective universities on full football scholarships and were among the top recruits in the country in their respective recruiting classes.
“Never in a million years would I have predicted this would happen,” says Kirsten Joyer, the boys’ mother. “Having one son play in a BCS Bowl game is a dream come true. Having two sons play in the same bowl, especially against one another, truly is a miracle.”
The Joyers, Watergrass residents, have been living in the Wesley Chapel area since 1995. Growing up, Hunter and Kamran both played numerous sports in the Pasco Athletic League (PAL). Their father, Jack, was a football and basketball coach at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School, the same school at which Kirsten was an assistant principal in 2001.
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