Playing sports at the high school level consists of working your way up the chain. In almost every school, there is a varsity (junior and seniors) level and a junior varsity (freshmen and sophomores) level. In addition, some schools even have freshmen teams. So for a freshman to start on varsity right from the beginning, is a pretty big deal. What makes it even bigger is when the freshman has a brother who is a senior and one of the main components of the team.
Enter Hannibal High School brothers, Dalton and Dylan Powell.
“It has really been great,” Hannibal senior Dalton Powell said. “It has given us an opportunity to come together closer. Playing sports we have had lots of opportunities to hang out, be together more and bond better.”
Dylan felt honored that he has been able to play with his brother.
“It has been a real honor,” Hannibal freshman Dylan Powell said. “I don’t think many people in Hannibal history have had the opportunity to play with their brother. It was a really cool feeling to know that I got to play with my brother during his senior season.”
Dalton thought his brother might have an opportunity to play on varsity with him, but he said Dylan exceeded those expectations.
“Over the summer I thought Dylan might have smaller roles in football and basketball,” Dalton said. “But, he really put in the work both over the summer and in the season to prove himself. It shows his work ethic and his talent level to start two sports as a freshman that normally freshmen don’t play on.”
Surprisingly this year was not the first time the two brothers played on the same football team at the same time. However, it has been many years since they were football teammates.
“We had never been teammates in basketball, but we were in youth football,” Dalton said. “When I was in fifth and sixth grades, he did play with me. I think he was in maybe second and third grade and he played up with our football team. But it has been a while since I played with him. It has been really nice.”
Dylan remembered playing together with his older brother in youth league.
“It has been a goal we have had for a couple of years back,” Dylan said. “When we used to play on youth league, we always wanted to play together at the varsity level. It has just been an honor.”
This season, the two have not only played together, but they have had starting roles on both the Hannibal football team and the basketball team.
Page 2 of 4 - The year started off with Dalton and Dylan lining up on the gridiron. While Dalton quarterbacked the Hannibal football team, Dylan played left tackle and protected his brother.
“We have really had each other’s backs,” Dalton said. “With him being my left tackle and having my blind side and being able to work together in basketball. It is really a unique opportunity and I am glad to have had it.”
Being a freshman on the team, Dylan named three seniors who took him under their wing and guided him, his brother Dalton, Jake Borgmeyer and Caleb Bieniek.
“The physicallity level is a lot higher,” Dylan said. “Practicing against a lot of the upperclassmen, just got me a lot tougher. Borgy really put me under his wing. Him and Dalton and (Caleb) Bieniek and they just helped me get through the year and adjust to the varsity level.”
Getting the chance to play high school football with his older brother, Dylan took his position seriously. At one point during a game against Helias, Dalton was hit late and pushed over a table on the sidelines.
Dylan did not like seeing someone possibly hurt his brother. On the very next play, Dalton Powell found the player that hit his brother and hit him with everything he had.
“I really have a trust level with him,” Dalton said. “I knew that he would have my back no matter what. One example was when we were playing in the Helias game. I got hit late out of bounds, thrown up over a table and the next play I saw my little brother kill the kid. It made me feel good knowing my little brother cared that much about me to put the hurt on some body else for me.”
“That kid got under my skin a little bit,” Dylan said. “I didn’t like seeing him throw Dalton into that table. It just got in my head a little bit and I was determined to get him back on the next play. Dalton had been hurt the previous week and I didn’t want anyone to mess with him.”
The basketball season hasn’t brought the same success to the brothers as the football season did for the Pirates. The Powell’s have gone from a 10-2 season, a North Central Missouri Conference championship, and an appearance in the district championship game in football to a season in basketball where the Pirates (6-17) are at this point trying to learn what they can for next year when everyone comes back for the Pirates except Dalton.
Dalton is the lone returning starter from one season ago. Dalton is scoring at a rate of 17.5 points per game and is the only senior on the team. He is also the only Pirate averaging double figure scoring over the course of the season. Dalton has had multiple games with 20-plus points and has also reached 30-plus points on occasion. Dalton is also contributing in other ways. He is averaging 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Page 3 of 4 - While the Pirates main scoring threat in basketball has been Dalton, Dylan has been one of the few players to contribute a significant amount of scoring. At 9.7 points a game, Dylan Powell has a chance to finish his freshman campaign with a double figure average. In addition, Dylan is also pulling down 7.3 rebounds per game.
“It is special to know that me and my brother are both getting to play together,” Dylan Powell said. “But, knowing that we are both contributing is good. We are both doing our roles. He is scoring a lot and I am pulling down a bunch of boards. I think we play really well off of each other.”
When the season started, Dylan knew his brother was going to see varsity minutes in basketball. What he didn’t know was how quick he would make it into the starting lineup.
“Whenever he started in basketball,” Dalton said. “It just made me realize how special the whole thing is. To start with your brother, in two sports, I didn’t think he would be able to do it in basketball. In football he was able to use his size while basketball is more of a skill set. It just showed he put in the time in practice and worked hard and was able to show the coach he had the ability to start.”
Like his brother, Dylan had no expectations of being a starter on the basketball team. It was the furthest thing from Dylan’s mind.
“I just had my mind set on working hard,” Dylan said. “I wanted to try to move my way up and get some minutes. Then I just kept getting moved up and practicing hard and doing everything right.”
There have been changes and improvements over the season.
Dylan’s play early in the season forced basketball coach Matt Pugh to make a change. One of those changes came early in the season. Just a few games into the season, at the Pittsfield Turkey Tournament, Dylan stepped up his game and recorded his first double figure scoring with a 15 point night, all while coming off the bench. Dylan also pulled down five rebounds and had three steals as the Pirates earned their first win of the season.
With only two regular season games left (both on the road) before the district tournament starts, the time the Powells have spent as teammates is about to come to an end. Dalton will be moving on to the baseball diamond while Dylan will head out for track and field where he will be a thrower (discus and shotput) for the Pirates.
“One of the biggest things he is about to find is that my mom is probably going to be a little perturbed as she has to give him rides home now because we are in different sports,” Dalton said. “But, I really think we will stay close with this bond. I don’t think it will separate us. I do wish him the best in his sport and I hope I have good luck in mine.”
Page 4 of 4 - Dylan knows his time as being a teammate of his brother is coming to an end.
“It is going to be different,” Dylan said. “Just knowing that he is not in the same sport as me, but I haven’t really had a spring sport with him for a while.”
With everything the two brothers have been through this school year, Dalton is still surprised how it all played out.
“If you had told me this summer that I would start two sports with my brother,” Dalton said, “I would have told you that you were a liar.”