CLEARWATER — At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Tyler Pierson casts a big shadow. But his size has never been enough to absorb the spotlight on the playing field.
That’s because he shines beside an even brighter star.
The big man on Countryside’s campus is Tyler Moore, a 6-6, 290-pound offensive tackle who has committed to Nebraska and is the first player from the county to be invited to play in the Army All-American Game.
Pierson is the other Tyler. The Cougars’ other offensive tackle.
“I’m the more anonymous one,” said Pierson, a senior. “Not many people talk about me. But I don’t mind it.”
It’s been this way for Pierson every football day of his high school career so he can roll with it, use it. Why even try fight it? In another situation, on another team, Pierson would be the headliner, the one who draws the crowd.
“I probably fly under the radar a little bit, but it’s fine,” said Pierson, who has Division I-A offers from Kansas, Colorado State and New Mexico — so he’s not off the radar of colleges. “I kind of like it.”
Though relative local obscurity figures to be his lot, Pierson has no animosity toward Moore for the accolades he receives.
“We’re both really good friends,” Pierson said.
The two have known each other since fourth grade and attended the same elementary and middle schools. But they could only play flag football because they each exceeded the weight limit for youth leagues. It wasn’t until they got to Countryside that they started playing organized football.
Both moved up to varsity quickly and have formed the best combination of offensive tackles in the county. Pierson has developed even more of his talents after attending numerous camps during the summer.
“I feel I’ve had a real strong season,” Pierson said. “I’m getting off the ball quicker and staying low to drive my guy instead of just keeping him there.”
As the Cougars have sailed along this season with an 11-0 record, Pierson has been another immovable object for opposing teams. With Moore on the other side, how can any defense fully concentrate in either direction?
“They’re both huge anchors for our line,” coach Jared Davis said. “Tyler Pierson is just as valuable as Tyler Moore. They can both hold their side. And they’ve both taken to the role of playing defense in short-yardage situations.”
In Friday’s Class 5A region semifinal against Tampa Bay Tech, Pierson and Moore will become a pair of bookend bodyguards for quarterback Gray Crow in pass protection and act as personal escorts for Diomi Roberts and Terry Johnson in the running game.
“The line will have to be at its best,” Pierson said. “It’s going to come down to whichever team is more physical. We’re going to have to buckle our chin straps for this one.”