Sandra Schexnayder is still weighing her options on just where she should sit in Tad Gormley Stadium on Friday night.
She’s considering watching the first half on the Holy Cross side of the stadium and the second half on the John Curtis side.
Or vice versa.
She and a dozen or so family members have had special shirts made for this game, better illustrating her dilemma.
Blue on one half, red on the other, bearing the words “Holy Curtis,” perhaps the only suitable compromise for this Catholic League showdown.
Kyle is a senior quarterback for Holy Cross. His identical twin Kody is a senior punter for John Curtis, making this Schexnayder Bowl a family affair.
The Schexnayders are trying to keep things as normal as possible around the house this week. They knew this day would eventually come once Curtis announced months ago that it was joining the Catholic League.
“We haven’t said much about the game at all,” said Kyle, the big brother by just two minutes. “We try to look at it as just another game on the schedule.”
So the two will try to keep the routine the same.
On the bus ride to the stadium, the brothers will text each other like they always do and wish the other one luck.
“We’re always going to do that,” Kody said.
It’s been that way since the two went separate ways in the ninth grade. They both attended Holy Cross in middle school, before Kody decided he wanted to go to Curtis.
They’ve played each other in baseball, but this will be their first time facing each other on the gridiron.
It’ll make things a tad bit easier for Sandra and Chris Schexnayder, who normally alternate going to games each Friday to watch their sons play.
When Holy Cross and Curtis play on the same night, Chris will go and watch one and Sandra will go watch the other.
Chris said he will sit in the end zone Friday, just like he does for every game at Gormley.
It’ll be nice, neutral spot for him this week.
“We have a rule,” Chris said. “What happens on the field, stays on the field. They won’t talk trash. If Kyle’s number is called and he does something wrong, Kody will tell him. If Kody has a bad punt or bad kick, Kyle will tell him. They always critique each other, but we don’t have to worry about any smack talk.”
Fortunately for Sandra, she won’t have to watch Kyle and Kody on the field at the same time going head-to-head.
She can thank Kody for that.
He decided to give up playing defensive back a few years ago to focus on kicking and punting.
So Sandra will get to watch Kyle throw and Kody kick, just like they used to do as kids in the yard playing on their own version of catch.
Kyle would throw the ball to Kody. Kody would punt it back.
But if this season is any indication, Kody could be responsible for putting his little brother in some tough situations this week.
Kody is one of the state’s best punters, booming them an average of 40.3 yards.
Last week, he was arguably the MVP by the way he constantly changed the field position in the defensive struggle.
He penned St. Aug inside its 20-yard line three times, including a field-flipping 63-yarder.
“He has been a weapon for us all season,” said Patriots coach J.T. Curtis. “He has really punted the ball as effectively as anybody I’ve had, going back to (former LSU kicker) Chris Jackson. Kody has developed into a guy who can kick at the next level. He works hard at it and is so competitive.”
While Kody’s foot has caused other team’s headaches, Kyle’s foot has been his own headache. He completed 67 of 132 passes for 747 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior before fracturing a bone in his foot midway through the season.
This season began with another foot injury, but he has recovered and is now part of a solid 2-quarterback system for the Tigers.
“I’ve known both since they were fifth graders and ball boys at Holy Cross and they are the epitome of intensity and competitevness ,” Holy Cross coach Eric Rebaudo said.”
Rebaudo and Curtis both describe their respective Schexnayders as “competitive”, but the similarities don’t stop there.
When they aren’t dressed in school gear, they are hard to tell apart.
They are similar in build. Kody is 5-10 and 185, while Kyle is a tad smaller at 175.
Sandra described Kody as the more laid back one and the protector.
Kyle is the more independent and more intense one.
But collectively, they are just two guys who love to play ball.
They’ve always been that way, since the days growing up in Chalmette before Katrina (and the 16 feet of water and four feet of oil that ruined their home) forced them to move to the west bank.
“When the storm came, all me and Kody were worried about was if we were going to get to play sports,” Kyle recalled. “I remember we just had a couple changes of clothes, but we made sure we had a baseball and a football to throw.”
He went on to thank his parents and all the coaches who made sure they could continue to play sports right after Katrina 10 years ago.
“They knew sports made us happy, and that’s what made us what we are today,” Kyle said.
Friday night, they’ll be on opposite sidelines.
Their parents and younger brother Kaleb will be in the stands cheering for both.
And on the field, the Schexnayders will be cheering for each other.
At least on the inside.
They will both have received a text from the other on that bus ride to Gormley as a reminder.
“I look forward to getting that text from him every week,” Kyle said. “That’s what motivates me every week.”
Kody agreed, recalling some of the words of encouragements he’s received from his brother this season.
“Go out there and work hard.”
“Perfect your craft.”
“Do what you do best.”
“Go out there and win the football game.”
Chances are, he won’t get that last message.
At least not this week.