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Brotherly battle strengthens bonds

Whaley, McDonald compete hard for quarterback role, but remain friends

September 08, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

What Kyle McDonald and Jordan Whaley have gone through together since spring football practices began could probably put a strain on most friendships.

After all, their competition for the opportunity to spend their senior year as the Flintridge Prep football team's starting quarterback has played out for nearly half a year on center stage of the Rebels' summer passing league games and now its hell week practices, by all accounts heatedly and too close to call.

"There have been times during this when the competitive side to both of us has kind of gotten in the way a little bit, but at the end of the day, we're still good buddies," McDonald says.

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"More or less," Whaley interjects kiddingly.

Mc Donald continues: "I feel like it's taken some getting used to it, but by no means is it something that's going to influence our friendship."

Friends and teammates since freshman year, Whaley and McDonald are known to be close off the field. Many of their teammates likely had to wonder to themselves how a direct competition between the two would affect both of those dynamics when first-year Coach Antonio Harrison opened the quarterback position, formerly held by McDonald, for audition back in the spring.

"I think they're handling it really well because they're like best friends pretty much and I haven't seen any animosity between them," sophomore linebacker and offensive lineman Ryan Leslie says. "I don't think there's been any pressure on the team because of it. They're handling it like mature adults and I applaud them for that. They're both working really hard."

Nor has the coaching staff seen any turmoil crop up as a result of the position battle. In fact, it's been essentially the opposite.

"It's interesting because Kyle and Jordan are best friends," Harrison says. "You kind of expect in any kind of competition like that, especially when Kyle was the starting quarterback last year, there might be a little animosity, but they've done nothing but help each other out and coach each other up."

It's something the two players may have to continue to get used to. Unable to distinguish a clear cut winner between the two by the conclusion of fall practices, Harrison has decided to continue the experiment through the beginning of the regular season, which starts on Saturday at St. Genevieve. Depending on how things go early on, the two may end up indefinitely sharing the role they've fought so hard to claim outright.

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