MISSOULA — Zac Crews let out a big laugh.
When asked what area of football he'd beat his older brother Haiden Crews, Zac, a junior, smiled and said, "Oh, physically for sure. I’ll dominate him on the line.”
Meanwhile, Haiden, a senior, laughed and shook his head.
"Please," he said. But when asked where he'd win, Haiden said, “Oh, I could snap his ankles. In routes, I could burn him any day of the week, any day of the week.”
The light-hearted moment after Missoula Sentinel's 42-7 win over Missoula Big Sky on Friday was a brief glimpse into the energy and fun the Crews brothers bring to the Spartan football team.
While Sentinel has been on a dominant 4-0 stretch to start the season, for Haiden and Zac Crews the start has been even more special as the two play key roles with Sentinel as rare brothers suiting up on varsity together.
The brothers play and start on both sides of the ball as Haiden suits up as a wide receiver and defensive back while Zac is a defensive end and tight end.
“As kids we were only always playing against each other and whatnot," Zac said. "He was a year older so I was never playing with him in MYF (Missoula Youth Football), but now that I’m a year younger and I’m playing up with him it’s just fun. It’s just like backyard football I guess.”
"It’s always sweet," Haiden added. "It’s just awesome to play with my brother. I’ve always dreamt of it and it’s always just special.”
The duo said Haiden was in third grade and Zac was in second the last time they suited up together prior to high school. Now, they star together.
“We have a bunch of family watching here always so it’s cool to cherish those moments, and, you know, at home we watch film together, we hang out together and so it’s just a lot of fun," Zac said.
“We always sit down and talk about the game and it’s always special," Haiden added.
Haiden has caught a pair of touchdown passes for the Spartans this season while Zac got his first receiving score of the year on Friday night on a trick-play Sentinel ran in the first quarter. The score came one play after Zac recovered a short kickoff from Sentinel to give the Spartans the ball back immediately. Zac also has 2.5 sacks to his name this season, and he threw for a touchdown against Butte last week.
Zac recently posted on Twitter that he received offers to play football at Montana and Montana State. His biggest fan? Older brother Haiden.
“It’s awesome, I honestly wouldn’t care if I got an offer or anything like that," Haiden said. "It’s awesome just seeing my brother win all of his awards and offers.”
And it's special for the both of them.
“Seeing how he plays and how he leads the team with a bunch of energy, it’s fun to see and it’s just fun to see him out there making plays and I’m making plays and we’re celebrating each other," Zac said.
“The Crews brothers have a great energy about them and that’s what I appreciate most, is you don’t see them have very many bad days and so really I have just enjoyed seeing that," Sentinel coach Dane Oliver said. "Having a brother myself and playing on the team with him, it kind of brings back some good memories. Overall, man, they’re making plays, they’re growing and adapting together and making memories that’ll last a lifetime.”
Haiden and Zac are two of many who saw significant time last year as Sentinel made the Class AA semifinals. As two brothers on a team that consistently refers to itself as family, the Crews brothers bring that fun-loving energy to the entire group as 2020’s success continues to stack up.
“It’s awesome. Our practices are so fun. We have so much energy. We love playing together, that’s the best part," Haiden said. "We all are just brothers, we just play as family and it’s just amazing, all of that energy.”