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Brothers teammates at last

Monica Maschak -
Hiawatha Freshman cornerback and wide receiver Eric Letterer and his brother, junior linebacker and fullback Allen Letterer.
Monica Maschak - Hiawatha Freshman cornerback and wide receiver Eric Letterer and his brother, junior linebacker and fullback Allen Letterer.

Allen Letterer has been around football since the day he was born.

Growing up in a “big football family” meant countless afternoons playing with his brother, Eric, and learning from their dad. They would break down game film, which his mom taped from every game and Sundays meant watching the NFL on TV.

But even with all of the informal practice sessions the two brothers shared, Allen and Eric never have had the chance to play together competitively.

“It’s been a thing ever since we were little we count which year,” Allen said. “We were going to play in junior high, but [Eric] was playing for the [Genoa-Kingston Broncos] still. We’ve just been counting down the days until we get to strap up with each other.”

Allen burst onto the scene last year as one of Hiawatha’s taller receivers and aided quarterback Mike Mercado as the Hawks moved to a more passing-orieted offense.

“He’s a big good receiver. He’s fast. Defensively, he’s going to move to being a middle linebacker,” Hiawatha coach Sean Donnelly said. “He’s an unbelievable tackler. I think he’s going to turn a lot of heads this year.”

Eric, a cornerback and receiver in middle school, most likely will have a smaller role as a freshman. Although they play the same position, their personalities differ on the field.

“He’s a little more outspoken,” Allen said. “He’ll tell you how he sees stuff. I’m a little quieter, but we’re both hard-working all the time.”

Eric agrees with the assessment, saying he, as the younger brother, is more “energetic.”

Although Eric went through his first official high school practice a few weeks ago, he’s had Allen as a mentor his whole life. Eric watched every Hiawatha game last season and has heeded the advice of his older brother, who has had two seasons under Donnelly at Hiawatha.

“He’s been working me,” Eric said. “Just teaching me never give up, don’t take a step out, keep pushing yourself, get in the weight room and lift, get everything done.”

So what’s it going to feel like to finally step on the field Friday with someone you’ve spent countless hours playing with?

“I’m probably going to feel excited just to see that I have a loved one with me on the field,” Eric said. “Probably going to be one of the best feelings of my life to play with him.”

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