The Covenant boy's soccer team is a close-knit group, but two of the team's top three scorers this season share an even closer relationship. Juniors Alec and Brandon DeJong aren't just teammates, they're also fraternal twins.
Both brothers say their relationship has translated to success on the soccer field.
"We're always like kind of honest with each other on the field," said Brandon. "If he does something wrong, I'll always tell him, and if I do something wrong, he'll always tell me. That's kind of just like a huge advantage of being able to trust each other and be honest with each other."
"He knows my strengths and weaknesses and I know his, so it actually really helps a lot," adds Alec.
This season, the DeJong brother have helped propel Covenant to a No. 3 seed in the upcoming state tournament, which begins next Monday.
Entering Tuesday's matchup with Fork Union, Alec was second on the team in goals scored with 12, while Brandon was third with seven.
"Last year I played in goal and he was a midfielder, so he always got the better of me in goals," Alec says of the friendly competition between the twins. "This year, I always make fun of him because I've got more goals than him and he's like 'you're a striker, I'm a midfielder, I'm not supposed to score.'"
"He's always reminding me that he's got more goals than me this year," said Brandon. "If he scores in a game that I don't, he'll always remind me, and we kind of both do the same. But there's always competition between us, no matter what we do."
Covenant head coach Bryan Verbrugge says he's seen Alec and Brandon's competitive relationship help the Eagles on the field this season.
"They're competitive with one another and I think that makes them better as individuals," he said. "But when they step on the field they're both competing for Covenant, and for that reason they make our program much better."
Like any brothers, the two don't exactly agree on everything, but right now they share a common goal. They're both hoping to score a win in the state quarterfinals next Monday. Last season, the Eagles were upset in the state quarterfinals.
"Multiple times over the season we've been talking about what happened last year and most of the players, especially the players that were here last year were so upset, we were all so upset," says Alec. "It would just mean a lot to us if we could get back to Richmond."
"Last year I know, it's still haunting a couple of us from just thinking about it the entire year," adds Brandon. "Just coming out with a win would be huge for us."