The Gustafsons are a real family within Shippensburg's football family
SHIPPENSBURG >> When quarterback Tyler Gustafson and wide receiver Cody Gustafson leave Shippensburg's football practice every day, they don't really leave Shippensburg football behind.
Not only are Tyler and Cody brothers, their offensive coordinator, Kevin, is also their father.
To say the least, they are a football family.
"We try to keep our sanity about it," Tyler said. "We do have time when we don't talk about football, but honestly there is a lot of football between here and home.
Kevin said, "Yeah, I heard Tyler say, 'We try to keep our sanity about it,' and that's true. But we still cross the line at times, and we go a little bit overboard. But it's all good."
The reason it's all good? The Gustafsons simply love football, and there are more Gustafsons on the way.
Although Tyler will graduate this year, the pair's younger brother, Nick, is currently the quarterback for Shippensburg's middle school team.
Their little sisters, Emily and Lindsey, are also sports enthusiasts. Emily, 12, has played field hockey, basketball and soccer, and even little Lindsey, who is just 7, has dabbled in basketball.
The five siblings might get it from their parents. Kevin has been a football coach since before even Tyler was born, and the matriarch of the house, Megan, is Ship's middle school field hockey coach and is currently training to run in a marathon.
"Yeah, she just ran 20 miles on Sunday; she's crazy," Tyler joked.
That hard work ethic is something that has been instilled in both Tyler and Cody since they were youngsters, and has contributed quite a bit to their success.
"These guys have been very dedicated to football since day one," Kevin said. "The two of them started lifting weights when they were six years old. They have also made the progression from water boy to ball boy to charting plays on Friday night. They've been hard workers all the way through."
This year it has paid off. The duo is a key part of Shippensburg's offense, which has spread the field quite a bit more this season.
Through the first eight weeks, Tyler is Franklin County's leader in passing yards with 1,386. He has a 52.2 completion percentage (93-for-178) and has thrown for 13 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
Tyler's favorite target is brother Cody, who, as just a junior, is the county's leading receiver with 40 catches for 634 yards. He has an average of 15.85 yards per catch and has scored four touchdowns.
"I don't like to take all the credit because we have a lot of great players on this team," Cody said. "Having Wade (Mills, 31 catches for 480 yards) there is great because he's such a great receiver, and teams put a lot of attention on him. That takes some of the attention off me, so that definitely helps."
What also helps is having your brother as the quarterback.
"It's awesome to play with Cody," Tyler said. "The connection we have is undeniable; you can't say it isn't there. We've thrown together for a really long time, so there's a big trust factor there. You're going to have a few miscommunications, but those rarely happen. Cody may read something, and I give him a call on the line, and he'll check out to it. I don't even have to look at his signal, and I'll know if he's going to run something else."
It's also doesn't hurt to have your father as a coach.
"We watch a lot of film, so we have an advantage," Cody said. "We can see things from other teams, and we know what's going to happen in the next practice and know what's going to happen going into the next game. You can feel confident in what you do, and I really feel like I can talk to him about stuff that's going on in our offense."
Tyler said, "I always saw Dad with other players, and I thought it would be awesome if he could be my coach. Even when I was younger, he would have me draw up plays. With the 121 waggle, I had to know where I'm going and where the tackle is pulling. We grew up around a football atmosphere, and it's been a really fun experience."
But there is the slightest disadvantage to having "Coach" and "Dad" be one and the same. Although Tyler and Cody said their father treats them equally to the rest of Ship's football players, Kevin wasn't so easy on the boys.
"No, I'm definitely harder on these guys than anyone I've ever coached," Kevin said. "My expectations are high of these guys; they just are. But they've fulfilled them, and I'm very proud."
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Kevin's background: Graduated from James Buchanan High School and Shippensburg University ... Has been coaching for 25 years ... Was head coach at JB for 9 years, and coached at Chambersburg under Don Folmar ... Is in his 8th season with the Greyhounds.
Tyler's stats: Quarterback ... Leads Franklin County with 1,386 passing yards ... Has gone 93-for-178 this season (52.2%) with 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Cody's stats: Wide receiver ... Leads Franklin County with 40 catches totaling 634 yards ... Has caught 4 touchdown passes.
Family trait: The Gustafsons are a family of quarterbacks ... Tyler, Cody and younger brother Nick have all played quarterback ... Kevin was a quarterback, as was his father, his uncle and three of his cousins.