It’s not every season that identical twin brothers play on the same football team, on the same side of the ball, creating a passing/receiving tandem that’s among the tops in Class 5A. But, that’s exactly what high school seniors Austin and Jacob Veire have been doing since they started their football careers way back in 3rd grade.
Jacob and Austin Veire, who have combined on so many key plays in St. Michael-Albertville’s run to the Class 5A football championship, will culminate a lifetime of football together Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. The Knights battle St. Thomas Academy at 4 p.m., with Jacob as the starting quarterback, and Austin as one of his top targets at wide receiver.
“We started flag football in third grade and tackle in fourth,” Jacob said Tuesday night. The two boys have always been on the same team.
“Our dad coached us when we played in the youth football program so we always played together,” Jacob said.
Their dad, Mike Veire, was no stranger to football. He, much like his son Jacob, played quarterback in high school.
This is Jacob’s first season as starting quarterback, a position he says is stressful but fun and one that was uncertain before the season started. Jacob cracked a bone in his wrist during fall camp and was in a cast the first week of practice. The injury didn’t deter his energy or passion for the sport as his wrist recovered and he was on the field to play the Knights first game versus Moorhead.
The Moorhead game wasn’t a highlight of the season, but thankfully the team didn’t let that get them down as they have won the last 11 games leading them to Saturday’s Prep Bowl Final.
So what’s it like to play football with your brother? Well for these brothers, it’s a good thing. From the fields of St. Michael, it’s led to an appearance at the Metrodome, the varsity team, a Section Championship and now, ultimately, a shot at a state title.
“I really trust Austin and can know and anticipate where he’ll be when I throw the ball,” Jacob said of his brother and receiver. Austin agreed saying, “we’ve had a lot of experience playing together, whether it’s at camps or just catch in the yard.”
“The dome is probably my favorite memory,” Austin recalled.
In addition to football, the pair is spending quite a bit of time together this year as they share 10 of their 15 classes at school. It’s not always been that way, as they spent many years in separate classes, making new friends and finding their own way through school. As they’ve gotten older and their interests have stayed aligned, the two have stuck together.
Both boys have college plans for next year that don’t involve football, so Saturday’s game will be their last time on the field.
“I’m planning on either the University of Minnesota or University of Wisconsin-Madison to study biomedical research,” Austin said.
Jacob has his own plans to attend either St. Thomas University (St. Paul) or the U of M to study science.
With both boys planning on living on campus at their respective schools, it will be the first time the two live separately.
It will be different for mom and dad too. “Saturday will be the end of a chapter, but we’re super excited to start the next one as they head in to the real world,” their mom, Heidi, said.
Mike isn’t sure what Saturday will feel like. “We’ve been having this feeling the last few weeks not knowing if it will be their last game each week. The Prep Bowl is a dream ending, win or lose,” Mike said. “But seeing them play together? It’s a rush,” he said.
Win or lose both boys are so thankful for their time playing football for St. Michael-Albertville. “It’s been great to play in such a great community that really rallies around the program,” Jacob said.
“The coaching staff has been such a good influence, and have made it evident that football is hard work, but that whether you play or not–this is your team. Everything you do reflects your school, your team, your community,” Heidi said.
In addition to the community support, the two have been surrounded by family support with dozens of family members cheering them on from the stands each week. Some of those fans, like their grandparents, come from as far as Claire City, South Dakota and Ivanhoe, Minnesota each week. This week, they’ll even have an uncle from Las Vegas in the stands.
One more fun fact? The Veire brothers moved to St. Michael in October 1999 with their family. That was also the same year that St. Michael-Albertville last made it to the Prep Bowl Final.