SMUDGE POT TONIGHT: Brother Act Should Give Bearcats Big Lift

September 3, 2010
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Casey Horine, No. 3, and his brother Garrett, No. 23, are expected to give Bonita a big lift tonight against San Dimas.

Casey Horine, No. 3, and his brother Garrett, No. 23, are expected to give Bonita a big lift tonight against San Dimas.

When you’re following the flow and the flight of the pigskin at tonight’s Smudge Pot rivalry between Bonita and San Dimas at Glenn Davis Stadium, you can be sure of one thing: There will be a Horine (rhymes with divine) brother on or around the football.

At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Casey, now a senior, is the oldest and fastest. In fact, he was the Miramonte League champion in the 100-yard dash last spring. Meanwhile, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Garrett is the tallest. He was also the Miramonte League first-team free safety last season.

On offense, Casey, No. 3, plays wide-out receiver on the right side while Garrett, No. 23, is a wide-out on the left side. On defense, Casey plays middle linebacker and Garrett plays virtually right behind him at free safety.

Although they are different football players, tonight they share one focus: Beat San Dimas. Since enrolling at Bonita, Casey has seen his team lose the Smudge Pot each time, and it’s starting to wear on him.

“We’ve lost all three years I’ve been here,” said Casey, the more outspoken of the dynamic duo. I want to bring it back to Bonita. It’s kind of nerve-racking because this is my last year.”

Last year’s Smudge Pot for Casey was bittersweet. He was actually injured the week before the big game, getting speared in the back resulting in three bulging discs and fluid in his back, but he never told anyone until after the San Dimas game.

Garrett is totally supportive of his big brother’s quest: “I feel it’s his last Smudge Pot, so I want to help him win,” Garrett said. “I don’t want to let him down.”

As for personal stats and accolades, the brothers are also on the same page. “One of us is on the left and one of us is on the right,” Garrett said. “It doesn’t matter who gets the ball as long as we win.”

Growing up, however, there was less agreement or outward affection. Brotherly love was something that happened in Philadelphia, not on 10th Street in La Verne, where Casey and Garrett have grown up.

The front driveway where they played basketball was like a combat zone. They fought like a couple of young lions, exchanging hard fouls and occasional bloody noses. The competition was tougher than anything they’ll face tonight.

“They got into it, but it’s kind of what made them who they are,” said their father Mark, a La Verne firefighter. Thankfully, their mother Sharon never had to call the station to ask Mark to referee. “It was never anything like that,” Sharon said.

“When we were little, I didn’t want Garrett to get the ball,” Casey added. “Ever.”

They also practiced tackle drills on the front lawn and slam ball inside the garage with older brother Jacob, who is two years older than Casey and four years older than Garrett. Whenever the natural order of things was upset – a younger brother defeating an older one (in sports, they call it an upset) – the family, if not the neighborhood, went on high alert.

The Horines, who met at Edgewood High School in West Covina where they both ran track and Mark also played high school, knew Casey and Garrett were competitive early on.

“They were naturally active, even as toddlers,” Sharon recalled. “They’d ask if they could have a cookie and I’d tell them just a minute, but by the time I’d turn around, they were already climbing into the cupboards to get it themselves.”

While Casey and Garrett didn’t play Pop Warner football, they played just about every other sport, and growing up around their cousins, the Zylstras and the Pills, two families who have carved out their own local sports legacies over the years, sports pretty much dominated family get-togethers.

The first time Casey and Garrett played on the same team was Carrol Wheatley Stars’ basketball squad. Actually, Casey started playing first, but then Garrett was asked to fill in occasionally. They also tagged along watching their older sister, Carly, play soccer, volleyball and basketball. She, of course, went on to be the Bonita varsity girls’ all-time leading scorer and has her jersey retired in the Bonita gym.

But football was out.

“I had a brother who played football, but I hated the injuries,” Sharon said. Of course, Mark played football too, so it was inevitable that her boys would eventually suit up.

“I went out my freshman year, and I liked it and kept playing,” Casey said. “I liked it because you can be physical and you don’t get in trouble for basically beating the crap out of somebody.”

As Sharon winced listening to Casey’s passion for football, Garrett echoed his brother remarks. “In football, you get to hit people without getting in trouble,” he said, looking up from finishing some algebra problems.

Of course, both now understand their responsibilities on the football field far exceed just hitting people. They have to help the team score too and be among the vocal leaders of the team.

Both boys played basketball (where they are both starters) and football over the summer. “That was hard,” Casey said. “We’d go straight from football practice and conditioning to basketball, then coach would tell us to go at 100% for as long as we could,” which is the only gear they know.

“We were pretty tired,” said Garrett, adding that he’s now in the best shape of his life.

As for Mark and Sharon, they’re still doing everything they can to keep the boys from being calorie challenged.

“We go to Sam’s Club and Costco every weekend,” Mark said, “but there’s never anything here for them to eat, they say.”

All the battles, all the scars and bloody noses, all the injuries, all the trips to the weight room over the years, are on the line tonight.

Tonight, Casey will be showcasing his speed and hitting ability. “Since he’s come back from summer camp, he’s taken on a leadership role,” Bonita head coach Eric Podley said. “He’s somebody we’re counting on for big things. Our expectations for his performance are high and he’s doing everything he can to meet those needs. We count on him to play sideline to sideline and track everything down.”

Brother Garrett will be right there as well, lining up as wide receiver on offense and playing free safety on defense, roaming centerfield right behind Casey.

“Garrett’s a big physical kid and he comes down and plays the run tough,” Podley said. “We’re confident that Garrett will be plugging up anything that leaks through.”

Maybe the best thing about the two brothers playing side by side is they make it easy on the fans. Fans can choose to follow the ball or they can follow the Horine brothers. Either way, they’ll be following all the action.


Field Notes:

Amazingly, Podley said that in his 34 years of coaching he’s never had so many brother acts on one team. In addition to following Casey and Garrett, keep your eyes on:

Cameron Salce, No. 13, and Mark Salce, No. 25

Riley Brungard, No. 28, and Zach Brungard, No. 33

Joe Quintero, No. 30, and Gabe Quintero, No. 66

Morgan Ruiz, No. 34, and Mason Ruiz, No 81

Sammy Bellomo, No. 69, and Vince Bellomo,, No 79.

Also, Craig Snyder, head football coach at Rowland High School, is Casey’s and Garrett’s uncle. It just so happens that because of the re-leaguing, Bonita will play Rowland at homecoming this year.

2 Responses to “SMUDGE POT TONIGHT: Brother Act Should Give Bearcats Big Lift”

  1. And there is also Nick Bellomo brother of Sammy and Vince. Nick plays on the Freshman team.

  2. seth Balentine # 26 is highly under rated and one of the best on the team. He helped pu the nail in the coffin for san dimas. one to really watch for said the NBC news team that was out there thursday nite.

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