Football turns friendship into brotherhood

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Football turns friendship into brotherhood

Eileen Martin/ Guilfordian

Eileen Martin/ Guilfordian

Eileen Martin/ Guilfordian

“He’s my blood,” said senior safety Alex Smith. “He’s my brother.”

It is hard to find friends closer than Smith and junior safety Satiir Stevenson, self-proclaimed brothers from another mother.

The two have played football together since 2011. Smith started as a sophomore, while Stevenson began as a first-year the same year.

“The team orientation brought us together,” said Smith. “It also helped that we have different personalities, but at the same time we’re chill.

“We’re both funny, too.”

Both were selected for the All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference team last year. Not only hard workers and great teammates, they are exemplary captains.

“They lead by example,” said head football coach Chris Rusiewicz. “People feed off their actions. With people that close we get two minds together, instead of one doing what we need to do.”

Throughout the years, their teamwork on the field has flourished.

“They thrive off each other,” said Rusiewicz. “They became very close over the past few years and have even become roommates. There’s a relationship there that goes above and beyond football.”

Defensive back coach Treiston Burnette agreed on their growing rapport.

“On and off the field they’re basically brothers,” said Burnette. “(Their teamwork) has a ripple-down effect. The speed of the leaders is the speed of the pack.”

Senior defensive back Tony Marsh shares that opinion.

“They are both great leaders and great friends,” said Marsh in an email interview. “They cooperate well with one another and feed off the energy that each generates.”

However, Smith graduates in 2014, and is planning on earning his certifications in exercise science.

Where does that leave Stevenson?

“I’m sad to go, but I feel like he’s already taken over,” said Smith. “He’s a great athlete, very respectful and quick on his feet.”

Smith is not the only one who considers Stevenson prepared.

“Satiir’s a leader within himself,” said Burnette. “He takes a businesslike approach. He’s always on point with everything he does on the field.”

Stevenson’s teammates also have good things to say about his leadership.

“Satiir’s a leader who leads by example more than his mouth,” said sophomore cornerback Jermario Gooch in an email interview.

Stevenson realizes the difficulty of the task, but he feels ready for it.

“I strive off (of) the pressure,” said Stevenson. “That’s what keeps me going. If it isn’t a challenge, it isn’t fun.”

Their time at Guilford has                                                     seen many successes that will remain after Smith’s graduation. They clearly remember one victory as the game where it seemed to all come together for the team.

“When we played Catholic last year, Satiir scored his first defensive touchdown,” said Smith. “He came in and took over. That was a sight to see.”

Stevenson agreed on the success, smiling victoriously.

“We were losing, but we turned it around,” said Stevenson. “The team always had the talent, but we really put it together that game.”

The two plan to stick together for as long as possible after Smith graduates. Even if their future jobs take them in different directions, some things are impossible to forget.

“Every day is a memory,” said Smith. “Every time we hang around each other there’s always something funny, always something good.

“The whole time we’ve known each other is a memory I’ll never forget.”