By Rob Kiser
Three Toopes are better than one.
At least that’s the approach the Piqua football team has taken this season.
Cousins Brennan Toopes, Owen Toopes. and Grant Toopes are all senior starters for the Indians.
“The really cool thing about it is they are all cousins,” Piqua football coach Bill Nees said. “All of their fathers played football for Piqua and now they are playing for Piqua. They all have unique and different talents. We are very fortunate to have that situation.”
Brennan, (6-foot, 209 pounds) and the son of Pat and April, returns to his starting defensive line position for the Indians after recording 52 tackles and a sack last season and he is also playing at tight end as well.
“For sure, we always talked about it,” Brennan said about the cousins, all born within two months of each other, talking about playing for Piqua. “We always played sports together and have always been close. All three of us play on defense, so that is pretty cool.”
In youth football, Owen was on a different team than Brennan and Grant.
“For sure, it was always competitive,” Brennan said with a smile. “It is cool that all three of us are out there playing together in our senior years.”
Owen (6-2, 171)and the son of Mike and Jody Toopes, is poised for a breakout season at the receiver position, while also starting in the defensive backfield and returning punts and kickoffs.
He had 11 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns a year ago.
“Our parents never really talked about it,” Owen said about following in their father’s footsteps and putting on the Piqua football uniform. “There was no pressure. We just enjoyed playing sports and having fun.”
For Owen, the youth football games against his cousins were always special.
“I always looked forward to those games,” he said. “I really wanted to beat them.”
And that hasn’t completely changed on Friday nights. Owen often finds Brennan lined up next to him on offense.
“I talk trash with him all the time,” he said with a big smile.
But. when the game is over on Friday night, it is over.
“We don’t really ever talk about the game afterwards,” Owen said. “There are other things to talk about.”
Grant (6-3, 226) and the son of Brian and Kelly Toopes, has moved into a starting spot on the defensive line as well. He had 11 tackles last year in limited action.
“We have always played sports together,” he said. “In youth football, Brennan and I were always on the same team and Owen was on a different team. We always looked forward to playing against each other.”
And having all three of them out there on defense, gives the Indians a distinct advantage Grant said.
“We know what to say to each other,” he said. “We know how to motivate each other. We all want to have bragging rights. That is the goal every Friday night.”
And while the season didn’t start the way the Indians hoped — with a 42-22 loss to Chaminade-Julienne — the Toopes have high hopes for the rest of the season.
“From the time we were little, the goal was always to play football for Piqua,” Grant said. “We got off to a rough start, but we will turn it around. The goal is to win as many games as we can.”
And having three Toopes on the field is a good start.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.