Every Friday in the fall, Trey Lauletta leaves his consulting job in Harrisburg an hour or two early and follows the glowing beacon from the east that leads him to Kottmeyer Stadium.
A place that owns so much of his own memory bank now serves as a stage to watch his youngest brother, Bryce, quarterback Downingtown East.
As the sun comes up Saturday, Trey is back on the road, trekking south to watch his record-breaking middle brother quarterback the University of Richmond.
As if he hadn’t gotten his fill, Sunday is reserved for recovering on the couch, watching the Eagles, or whoever else, for that matter.
“We’re football junkies,” Trey said of he and his brothers. “My sister (Brooke) would play if she could. We like to DVR football games, not only so we can fast forward through commercials, but also to rewind plays and say ‘Downingtown East should incorporate that, or look how he did this.’ I have to give a lot of credit to my mom (Kim), who’s put up with us, but she’s gotten to the point where she’s pretty intelligent football-wise. It brings the family together and it’s at the root of who we are.”
The name Lauletta is almost synonymous with Downingtown East at this point. Trey was a three-year starter from 2008-10, followed promptly by Kyle the next two seasons and now Bryce, who, as a senior, is in his second year at the helm.
“It’s meant stability at a position that’s probably the hardest position to play in high school football,” Cougars’ coach Mike Matta said. “Downingtown East has been around 15 years and seven of them we’ve had a Lauletta. And three of them we had (Pat) Devlin. It means a lot and it’s meant building a bond with the family.”
As a grad assistant at West Chester University, Matta coached with the boys’ father, Joe Lauletta Jr., who was a quarterback himself at West Chester Henderson and the Naval Academy. The two have watched as the trio has reached their own individual successes.
East (8-0) sits at No. 4 in the Pa. Prep Live Top 20 (the highest ranked public school), heading into its huge matchup with No. 5 Coatesville Friday. Kyle was the last Cougar QB to navigate a perfect regular season in 2012.
Nowadays, he’s torching the Richmond record books. This past weekend he became the Spiders’ all-time passing yards leader with 9,076, pairing with his program-high 64 career touchdown passes.
“It means a whole lot,” Kyle said. “Richmond has a really, really good football history with a lot of great quarterbacks, so it’s great to be at the top of the list. Coming to Richmond, I hoped to go to a big school, like everyone else, but the chips fell and I ended up here and I’m so glad I did.”
Trey took over at quarterback at East the second game of his sophomore season and went on to post a 25-10 record in his three seasons before going on to play at Bucknell University. Kyle followed, finishing 19-4, and Bryce is currently 17-3.
“Bryce has come a long way,” Trey said. “I think Bryce is a little more similar to my path. Kyle has a little more God-given ability, while Bryce has had to work hard. The best similarity he has between me and Kyle is he’s so competitive, which is probably because we beat up on him all the time. We’d play 21 in the backyard and there were no easy buckets for Bryce. It’s really cool to see how he’s stepped up and gotten his turn. It’s tough with two older brothers and the success we had. He’s always wanted to be his own person, and I think he’s done a tremendous job.”
Living up to the last name is no easy task, but Bryce has done it admirably. All those years of watching his brothers on the sidelines as a ball boy, or being schooled in the backyard has paid off.
“I’d like to think I’m a mixture of Kyle and Trey, the best parts of both,” Bryce said with a laugh. “Kyle is an exceptional athlete and Trey is one of the greatest students of the game. He’s mastered the mental aspect of the game.”
Arguably no one has benefited more than Matta, who, no matter which Lauletta was under center, knew he was guaranteed certain traits.
“You’re getting a student of the game,” Matta said. “Leadership and accountability is second to none. They buy in and the support they have for their teammates is off the charts.”
The Exton area has had a good run, quarterback-wise, in the 2000’s, starting with Matt Ryan, then Devlin and now Kyle Lauletta.
Those lights at Kottmeyer can expose a lesser athlete, but those who embrace them end up shining a little brighter.
“Downingtown East was huge for me,” Kyle said. “When I came to college, it was a whole different speed, but for me it wasn’t that big of a jump. I credit that to the level of football in Pennsylvania and a school like Downingtown East being in the playoffs every year.”
East is guaranteed at least three more games this season, with the playoffs locked in. And while no Cougar wants to see the season come to an end, the Lauletta family clings to the final days of this era.
When 7-1 Coatesville shows up for the game of the year in the Ches-Mont Friday, Matta has just the right guy for the job.
“The game is never too big for him,” Matta said. “Some kids get a little jumpy or don’t have the confidence, but the game will never be too big for Bryce. He’s very confident and does a tremendous job running our offense.”
As Trey journeys back home, his mind will no doubt bounce between all those moments he had in the yellow and blue and all those yet for Bryce to realize. Kyle, nearby in Newark as he faces the University of Delaware, Saturday, will no doubt be checking his phone for updates.
Friday is Bryce’s night, and though his two brothers may to some degree envy his opportunity, it’s evident watching the way he carries himself and listening to the way he speaks, Trey and Kyle are right there with him.
“When we started the year, one of our goals was to go undefeated in the Ches-Mont. It’s definitely a big game since there’s only two more,” Bryce said. “I’ll let the emotions go to help amp the guys up, but staying cool and collected is important, also, since we’ll be trading shots, Friday. You can’t let it get to you. You have to ride it out.”
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