After dreaming for a decade, it's finally his time to shine
It's fairly common to hear athletes refer to their teammates as family. They spend hours together in the sun on a hot day. They sweat together, they bleed together, they lose as one and win as one.
But for a pair of seniors at Scappoose High School, the bond of brotherhood goes even deeper. David and Joey Krupsky, the lanky twin seniors who will be starting for the Indians this fall have been playing football side by side since before they could tie their own shoes. The pair haven't slowed down in the years that followed, and now they find themselves at the top of their game. David is the leader among returning receivers, and Joey is starting under center. Playing quarterback has long been a passion for Joey, dating back to his early years in youth football.
I've been in it since third grade, and with my brother David, my twin, actually, since second grade, Joey Krupsky remembered, pausing to pull off his gloves after seeing time at safety during practice.
Both David and Joey are hyper competitive, having spent the last decade battling one another and pushing each other to new heights, and now that they've both reached the pinnacle of their high school years, Joey is able to look back and appreciate the path along the way.
It's amazing. It's amazing to have a true brother out on the field where every day you can go home to the same house, eat the same dinner and talk about how the game went, Joey said. We have to push each other. That's the reason why I'm so good right now and why he's so good, is we push each other. We strive to be better than the opponent next to us, which, if that happens to be each other, we're always bouncing back and forth and getting higher.
Even before the first official game has kicked off, the brothers are poised for a special year. David enters with the most receptions and most receiving touchdowns of any returning player. He'll be a favorite target for his twin, who completed 38 passes for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns behind senior starter Taylor Loss last season.
The first several games of the season had spotty need for Joey's services – just a handful of plays in garbage time as the Indians rolled over Roosevelt, Estacada, Yamhill-Carlton and Tillamook.
But on Oct. 18, his opportunity finally arose. Loss tucked and ran for a big gain, but as he was tackled near the Seaside 30 yard line, something popped in his ankle. After halftime, it was Loss on the sideline, and Joey Krupsky warming up for the third quarter.
The Indians entered the break with a 19-9 edge, but quickly found themselves in a pinch. Seaside knocked in a field goal, and then scored midway through the third quarter to draw within a field goal of tying the game.
That's when the rubber met the road. Joey, who had never started a varsity game in his life, held the reigns to the offense with one job: Score. And score he did, dashing for a three-yard touchdown with five minutes left in the third to effectively seal the game for Scappoose.
He started the next game as well, scoring two touchdowns through the air and two touchdowns with his feet, as well as picking off a pass to set up the final scoring drive of the game in a 43-20 road blowout of Astoria.
And that was Joey as a backup. Now, he'll step into the starting role and assume full control of the offense after last year's jump start performances, though nerves are sure to play a role as his senior season gets under way.
I'll be nervous the first few games, Joey said with a smile, thinking forward to the fast-approaching jamboree with St. Helens and RA Long on Aug. 29. That's just how it's going to be. I mean, I love football. You can't not get nervous when you're in something, even something that you love to do.
It's still a little surreal for Joey Krupsky to step off the field and grasp that he is, indeed, living out a boyhood dream. Playing youth ball and stepping in as a backup is one thing; starting is on a different level.
You always have that fantasy as a kid of starting, so I guess I had that idea in my head, but I never thought it would be starting with all my best friends, Joey said. It's not just my brother with me out there. All of the receiver corps, we're all close friends. The running back Johnathan Tardiff, the line, we're all family. It's fun. We grew up together. We played peewee ball when we barely knew what we were doing, up to now. It's just amazing.
Joey, unlike the pass-loving Loss before him, is a born runner. He competes in the jumping events during track season, and like his brother David, is built to find a seam and make opponents pay with his feet.
Head coach Sean McNabb has gone so far as to slightly restructure the offense to fit his running style, making sure that the best athletes on the field get the ball with a chance to make plays. This season when the quarterback darts up the middle, it's unlikely to be the third or fourth option: It just might be the first.
I get a little bit excited every time that happens, Joey said as his eyes lit up, boyish excitement getting the better of his usually impeccable composure. I know I've got a great line. They know how to go down the field for me (and) they know how to block. Once I get a play that's designed for me, I know my teammates have my back and we'll be driving down that field and scoring.
The polite, personable Joey Krupsky disappears on defense, especially if things don't go well on the offensive side of the ball. Its part of the high standard he sets for himself – and many thanks to the years of going toe-to-toe with his twin. His dream this season is equally as high, and it's something clearly on the forefront of his mind.
State title, he said, not skipping a beat. Two words, state title. We've got family. We've got the brotherhood, we've got the bonds and I know we've got the skill, heart and dedication. I want a state title this year.