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Local Ties To The Sugar Bowl

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Credit Mike Camunes

Credit Mike Camunes

Flash2 Dave "Flash" Morgan
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Credit Howie Dewitt

Credit Howie Dewitt

Growing up in Wesley Chapel the Joyer boys were inseparable. Kamran and Hunter participated in every sport from PAL football to weightlifting. They were fierce competitors and jumped at any opportunity to compete against one another whether it was an eating contests or a push up contests they were always eager to compete. They dreamed of earning football scholarships to Division I football programs; they even dreamed of playing in the Sugar Bowl one day. What they never imagined was that they would be doing just that. As a matter of fact, no one ever thought that they would play in a bowl game against each other that would unite a community in such an amazing way.

On December 2nd they received word through the grapevine that they would be playing against each other at the Sugar Bowl. They were in shock, so much so, that they refused to believe it until the official announcement on ESPN that night.

Kamran, a redshirt junior offensive lineman for the University of Louisville called his younger brother, Hunter, a sophomore fullback for the Gators, to inform him that they were slated to play against each other in the upcoming Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Hunter laughed and told his older brother that there was no way this could happen. When the official announcement was made that the Gators were scheduled to play the Cardinals, Hunter called Kamran and said “Gator Bait”.

And so goes the story of two brothers who until January 2013, had played football together in the past but had never played on opposing teams. Once the media got wind of the story about the Wesley Chapel boys who would be representing the Tampa Bay area in the Sugar Bowl the news spread like wildfire. ESPN interviewed them at their home during winter break, several news outlets across the country published articles about them and their journey to the Sugar Bowl.

Julie Beardsley a close family friend suggested a Sugar Bowl Watch Party at the Wesley Chapel Beef O’Brady’s. It was just going to be a little party …nothing elaborate. Before we knew it over 1,000 Joyer fans had been invited. Among those people were family, former teachers, the boy’s former teammates and administrators. The party then was turned into a Watch Party/Fundraiser to benefit Aaron Klingebiel, an 8th grade student at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School who has a malignant brain tumor. The Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce even declared January 3, 2013 as “Joyer Day” in Kamran and Hunter’s honor. The media covered the event as this was no little party this was a full blown event. And to think all of this was because of two little boys from Wesley Chapel who had a crazy dream.

Twenty family members made the trip to Louisiana to watch them play. They all watched in amazement as Louisville shocked the nation and… the Gators by winning the Sugar Bowl.

This was truly the experience of a lifetime one that may never come again. What are the odds of brothers competing against each other in a BCS Bowl game? I guess we will never know statistically what those odds are but what a great experience.

Through this whole experience Kamran and Hunter remained humble and gracious and their relationship remained intact. People questioned whether this experience would drive a wedge between the two of them but it didn’t they were back to business as usual the day after the game e.g., going to movies, playing videos games and playing pranks on each other.

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