SHELBY — Follow a team program long enough and the last names start to look familiar. And that’s the case with the Shelby Coyotes where several upperclassmen come from legacy families and are carrying on tradition.
“I think it starts with the family and anytime you've got some older brothers that have had success and been through things, their little brothers watch it and now they're grown up,” said Shelby coach Mike White. “It starts at the breakfast tables, as my dad likes to say, and it’s continued with those families.”
Watching the Shelby football team gives fans a sense of deja vu. Names like Torgerson, Reynolds and Brusven have dotted the box score for the better part of a decade.
On Friday night in a 69-21 win over Chester-Joplin-Inverness, junior linebacker and running back Cameron Brusven found the end zone several times on offense, defense and special teams.
“Cameron’s a workhorse. He’s probably a throwback player, he likes contact and will run sideline to sideline,” White said. “And he does a really good job. We even put them in a little Wildcat like we did with his brother.”
Cameron’s older brother Wyatt Brusven graduated from Shelby in 2018 and is perhaps remembered best as a clutch kicker, lifting Shelby to several playoff victories in his career. Wyatt is now kicking and playing defensive back at Rocky Mountain College, and while he and Cameron played similar roles on the field, they’re very different off of it.
“Well, he's a little bit more reserved,” Cameron said. “I’m more easygoing and laid back. But we love playing football and love playing sports.”
But they’re both gamers who help their teams in a variety of ways.
“They're night and day,” White said. “Cameron is a free spirit and he likes to have some fun and get after it and he plays loose, and Wyatt was more reserved, quiet. But they both produce when they step across that line.”
Cameron is also a kicker and while he has a good leg, he said he’d defer to his brother if the game is on the line.
“I’m going to have to go with my brother,” he laughed. “He’s more of a kicker. He's more of a kicker than me.”
Elsewhere on the field is a guy that’s hard to miss. Junior tight end and defensive end Rhett Reynolds is 6-foot-8 and uses his size to make an impact on both sides of the ball.
“On offense, I can go get the ball. When I’m blocking, I have a little bit of leverage,” Reynolds said. “And on defense, I have more extension than everyone else.”
Naturally Reynolds’ first love is basketball, where his dad, Tom, is the head coach at Shelby High School. But he’s proving adept on the football field, as well.
“Everybody looks at him as a basketball player and obviously he's a good one, but he's a heck of a football player, too,” White said. “And at 6-8, he plays physical. He's got that reach and he's a smart kid and he's just got a motor that goes and goes.”
Rhett follows his brother TJ Reynolds, who was a four-year starter at Shelby and is now playing college hoops at Montana State-Northern. TJ is listed at 6-6, but Rhett has always been a little taller.
"When I was in fourth grade, I was playing in a basketball tournament and they checked my birth certificate because they didn't believe it,” Rhett laughed. “I look at people who are 6-4 and I don’t see them as tall people, I just see them as normal-sized.”
The Coyotes lost their opener to Joliet but have reeled off four straight wins to sit atop the 8-Man North 'B' sub-conference standings. They believe they’re now hitting their stride in time for a deep postseason run.
“(The Joliet loss) was a good punch to the face right off the bat and really sets you in your place,” Brusven said. “You come off a little strong and you just get set back, and I think we're rolling now.”
Shelby will host Belt next week to close the regular season.