SEFFNER — Ryan Redfield and Zaequan Gilliespy spent nearly every weekend this summer at West Tampa’s McFarland Park.
For the brothers, who live with different mothers, this was their family reunion. They tossed the football around. They enjoyed each other’s company.
Most days, they talk on the phone. Except for this week.
Gilliespy is a defensive back at Plant High. Redfield plays linebacker at Armwood High.
Friday night, they play against each other in the season opener for the two area powerhouse programs.
“Plant-Armwood week we’re silent,” Redfield said. “We don’t talk to each other. We’re just focused on football and trying to win.”
The two grew up playing for the same youth league team. They both preferred to do the hitting rather than get hit. So they both became defensive players.
The competitiveness was always there. Sometimes, the brothers would continue to square off once practice ended.
“I loved the game, but Zaequan really introduced me to how football is supposed to be played,” Redfield said. “I’ve never really told anyone this before, but I always looked to him as my big brother. I wanted to be like him. He made me get that grit to try and out-do him.”
It was not until last year that the two faced each as opponents in a varsity high school game.
Gilliespy had a breakout season a year ago, finishing with 103 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. The junior now has offers from Colorado State and Wisconsin.
“I’m definitely competitive with my brother,” Gilliespy said in July. “But we also have fun, too.”
Redfield, also a junior, had 18 tackles and a forced fumble last season. He is expected to have an even bigger role this year.
For the family, this week is tough, too.
“Our dad will probably end up wearing a Plant shirt,” Redfield said. “I mean, Zaequan is the oldest. But my mom will be wearing Armwood blue. They’ll be cheering for both of us, though.”
High school football, Week 1
All games Friday night.
Clearwater Central Catholic at Berkeley Prep, 7
Carrollwood Day at St. Petersburg Catholic, 7
Central at Umatilla, 7
Cambridge Christian at Winter Garden Foundation Academy, 7
Melbourne Central Catholic at Calvary Christian, 7
Weeki Wachee at South Lake, 7
Zephyrhills Christian at Lake Placid, 7
Bishop McLaughlin at Jacksonville Christ’s Church, 7
Fivay at Lecanto, 7
Lakeland Tenoroc at Hudson, 7
Seven Rivers Christian at Bayshore Christian, 7
Tampa Catholic at Naples Palmetto Ridge, 7
Admiral Farragut at St. Stephen’s, 7
Gibbs at Boca Ciega, 7
Bradenton Christian at Indian Rocks Christian, 7
Shorecrest at Northside Christian, 7
Palm Bay Heritage at Clearwater, 7
East Lake at Nature Coast, 7:30
Plant at Armwood, 7:30
Sunlake at Springstead, 7:30
Pasco at Land O’ Lakes, 7:30
Zephyrhills at Wiregrass Ranch, 7:30
Chamberlain at Tampa Bay Tech, 7:30
Gaither at Jefferson, 7:30
Robinson at Hillsborough, 7:30
Plant City at Jesuit, 7:30
St. Petersburg at Lakewood, 7:30
Northeast at Tarpon Springs, 7:30
Pinellas Park at Palmetto, 7:30
Lake Gibson at Hernando, 7:30
Anclote at Mitchell, 7:30
Cypress Creek at Wesley Chapel, 7:30
Osceola at Gulf, 7:30
River Ridge Crystal River, 7:30
Middleton at Alonso, 7:30
Blake at Riverview, 7:30
Newsome at Bloomingdale, 7:30
Wharton at Brandon, 7:30
Durant at King, 7:30
East Bay at Lennard, 7:30
Freedom at Steinbrenner, 7:30
Strawberry Crest at Leto, 7:30
Orlando Christian Prep at Seffner Christian, 7:30
Sickles at Spoto, 7:30
Immokalee at Clearwater Academy, 7:30
Palm Harbor U. at Dixie Hollins, 7:30
Largo at Braden River, 7:30
Dunedin at Keswick Christian, 7:30
Friday’s Plant-Armwood game will be streamed at theidentitytb.com or download The Identity Tampa Bay’s app.