Former South football players, the Blanzy brothers, wrap first season at Albion

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 5, 2016

 Brian Blanzy

Brian Blanzy

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Brian and Sam Blanzy have been playing football together since they were children.

The twin brothers played youth football for the Grosse Pointe Red Barons before eventually moving on to play together at Grosse Pointe South.

And while the odds may be against most high school players going on to play at the collegiate level, both have received just that opportunity, as the brothers recently completed their freshman season at Albion College, an NCAA Division III program.

While twins playing on the same college roster may seem pretty unique to some people, for Brian and Sam, it’s kind of become the norm.

“Seems pretty normal for me, since it’s been every year,” said Brian, who is a wide receiver for Albion. “Coaches like it; they think it’s unique. Maybe if we were on different rosters it could have been a little bit different, but it seems pretty normal to me.”

Sam shared a similar sentiment as that of his brother.

“It just seems natural to me since we’ve been doing it for so long,” said Sam, who is a punter and quarterback for the Britons. “Seems like we’re in the backyard playing catch like we used to.”

Brian and Sam’s father, Rocky, commented on how fun it has been to watch their evolution as football players lead them to the college level.

“It’s been great,” Rocky said. “It’s fun to go see. To see the hard work they’ve put in to play at the next level — we’re very, very proud.”

Sam and Brian’s mother, Jennifer, discussed how nice it is to have her kids playing for the same college team.

“It’s great,” she said. “We love being able to continue watching them. It was much more convenient that they decided to go together. We do the tailgates. It’s nice to be able to see them every week. It’s awesome; we love it. We make it a family event.”

While playing football together is nothing new for Brian and Sam, the opportunity to play collegiately is still a relatively fresh experience. Aside from acknowledging that their time at South helped prepare them for it, both also spoke about the experience of playing at the college level.

“I loved the experience,” Brian said. “It was hard work, but the relationships with the coaches and teammates — it was fun. It was a good experience.”

Sam also enjoyed his first season suiting up for a college team.

“I love it,” said Sam, who was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Special Teams Player of the Week during the season. “It was faster than high school. Just playing the game, trying to enjoy every minute of it. It felt kind of normal, since I knew I’ve always wanted to play college football. So, it was more surprising playing the first game. There was a whole new atmosphere.”

When discussing standout high school memories, South’s rivalry with Grosse Pointe North came to the forefront for Brian.

“I liked running out to the North-South games with thousands of fans cheering,” he said. “It was awesome.”

Sam had the opportunity to be a starting punter for Albion last season. Going forward, he would like the chance to play more at the quarterback position than he did last season.

Brian cited working to become a starter within the next year as one of his goals.

 Both players acknowledged that the experience they gained observing the college game from the sidelines could prove to be beneficial going forward.

“I was able to learn the offense a lot better watching our starter,” Sam said of observing the quarterback position. “He’s been doing it for a long time. He really knew how to run the offense — great watching him. Learn things from just watching, so hopefully, I’m able to perform.”

In the future, Brian could be on the receiving end of more footballs thrown by his brother.

“I did travel with the team,” Brian said of his freshman season. “I went to every game except one at the beginning of the year. I was hurt. I didn’t play much. It was a good learning experience. Watching those players ahead of me — they were all solid, and they included me. It was a huge help to learn the offense. Hopefully, I can learn from them and succeed like they did.”

Brian and Sam also acknowledge support from their parents, grandparents, brothers, sister, uncles and aunts, as well as from coaches from the Red Barons, South and Albion.