The significance of playing together is not lost on the Smith brothers, but the Desert Vista duo want to be able to talk about 2010 as something special.
"I really haven't thought about it, but when we are re-visiting history years down the line it would be great to be able to include a playoff win or two," senior Aaron Smith said. "These are memories we are going to remember for a lifetime."
The postseason is some time off and the Thunder (2-2) have plenty of work to do between now and then, but considering Desert Vista has already matched last season's win total there is a reason to believe the down cycle was a one-year blip with plenty of young talent on the way.
Just how far the Thunder, who host Phoenix St. Mary's (2-3) at 7 p.m. tonight in a Class 5A Division I non-region game, will go in 2010 is still to be determined, but the Smiths will have a hand it in it.
Aaron has been the team's starting running back, filling in for the injured Mike Arredondo, and Matt, a junior, has been one of the defense's better players as a defensive back.
"They are athletic kids and they work hard," said Desert Vista coach Dan Hinds, whose older brother was a senior when he was a freshman at Tempe McClintock. "It's a special thing that they get to play together. They are great, well-rounded kids that come from a good family."
The brothers have been playing football since around the age of 6, but this is the first time they have been on the same team.
"It's cool to interact together on the same team," said Aaron, who has 27 carries for 93 yards a touchdown. "The whole team is a family and there is a different type of bond because football is a physical sport, but it's more personal when it is your brother. There is more passion when you are throwing a block for your brother."
While they are mostly on different sides of the ball, in the Mountain Pointe game the offense ran a double reverse in which Aaron took a handoff from quarterback Hunter Rodriguez and then handed it to Matt, who is averaging 27 yards a kickoff return, on a reverse that gained five yards.
"That was pretty cool," said Matt, who had the game-saving tackle in the win over Tucson in Week 1. "It wasn't a big play, but it is something we can always talk about."
The two brothers are close, but have a different circle of friends. The 5-foot-6, 165-pounder Aaron plays the violin in the orchestra, has a 4.09 weighted GPA and plays mostly offense. Matt is bigger at 5-9, 160, is better at video games and plays mostly defense.
"Football is the one thing that really brings us together," said Aaron, who has his eyes set on the Ivy League, Stanford and Arizona State's Honors College for next fall.
Matt, who is coming off a very good game against Chandler Hamilton against some tough receivers, said he is cherishing every moment with his older brother.
"I've always looked up to him," he said. "He has been my role model. We threw the football to each other in the backyard forever. Now, we are on the same team and that's something we will always have."
They often travel to and from the game with each other. Not much is said in that time. Nothing needs to be.
"It's usually quiet right before and after," Aaron said. "We do share memories, laugh and talk about the game afterward. But going there we don't really talk. We are focused on what we need to do. We'll have plenty of time to talk about it for the years to come."
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