Parrker Westphal is one of Bolingbrook high school football team’s “go to” guys on the defensive side of the football. But just because Westphal is a leader now doesn’t mean he hasn’t done his fair share of following. Growing up with a brother, Brandon, five years older meant little brother played quite a bit of tag-along. That is just the way their father, Brian, planned it.
“Whenever they would go somewhere Parrker would always either ask Brandon or I made Brandon take Parrker with him,” the elder Westphal stated. “Cause I want them to be brothers. I want them to do things together and share everything together as much as they could.”
“And then as Parrker got older and Brandon had his thing going too, when Parrker would have his stuff, I then would ask or make Brandon go with Parrker.”
Brandon, a 6’1, 225 pound junior linebacker at Illinois State, doesn’t mind lending his expertise and sharing his experience with little bro. But as is the case with most sibling relationships, Brandon makes sure Parrker knows who still has the edge. At the same time he also makes sure to pass along every bit of football knowledge he possibly can.
“It was probably eighth grade midgets and just seeing him running around on the field, his intensity and enthusiasm with everything,” said Brandon. “When I got to college I was teaching him stuff that I was learning so when he was in the eighth grade freshman year he was already like three years ahead of everybody else.”
“Ever since eighth grade it has just been a blast being able to watch him play and just do some things that I wouldn’t have thought he’d be able to do at that age, or any kid.”
With his older brother giving him an early and detailed football education, Parrker took on one of Brandon’s traits that really can’t be taught and uses it as a major strength on the field.
“He even hit his own teammates,” Parker said. “He gave his corners concussions going up for interceptions so him just getting after the ball I take that after him. He was real aggressive.”
While Brandon remains away at Illinois State getting things done in his own right he still makes time for the brother-to-brother film sessions.
“If the family couldn’t come out to my game on the weekend then my dad would send me Parrker’s game film and I would be on the phone with Parrker just going over stuff (saying things like), ‘like next time just keep your eyes on his hips on this play,’ or fast forward to the ten minute mark and tell him, ‘get your head back around faster,’” said Brandon. “I’m always trying to help him out.”
Aside from any tips or nuances he needs to pass along, Brandon also sees a very talented athlete when he pops the tape in.
“(Parrker is) somebody that’s going to be intense, physical,” said Brandon. “That’s going to be aggressive but at the same time patient. Not going to force a play to happen because then he’ll have the opportunity to miss that play if he’s trying to force it. He wants to put the team on his back, he likes having that role of being a leader and just out there doing the dirty work that no one else will do.”
Unfortunately for Parrker, his brother and father aren’t the only ones who have their hands on game film with him in action.
“They’ll have their top receiver go away from me some plays,” said Westphal. “In the Neuqua Valley game last week I noticed, I was locked up on number three the whole game and then their coach kept putting him at the slot so he’d be away from me and then finally they had him out wide and I’m like oh he’s going to run a go route. And then I saw his eyes get all bright so I hurried up and picked it off but that’s the only time they threw my way.”
Written story by Kyle Bogeschutz
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for part two during which the Westphals discuss the visit to Michigan.