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Whenever Kyrell and Jamiah Newell went head-to-head in football practice, the Lakeville brothers always made sure to get a quick word in beforehand.
“He says I can’t tackle him and I tell him that he’ll never get by me,” Kyrell said. “It was fun just messing around and being competitive with him.”
Being the youngest of four brothers, Jamiah is the one with the biggest chip on his shoulder.
“We always kind of messed with him,” Kyrell said, laughing.
Now, after an impressive run with Lakeville North to the Class 6A state championship game this past season, Jamiah will be the last of four brothers — all multisport athletes — to come through the school.
Fred Newell is the oldest brother. He was a fullback for the Panthers and actually blocked for his younger brother Dajon. Fred walked on in basketball at North Dakota State.
Dajon Newell was a starting running back for the Panthers for two years before suiting up for Augustana, where he has “kind of become the face of their football program,” Lakeville North head coach Brian Vossen said. Dajon has earned numerous accolades since breaking out as a redshirt freshman a couple of years ago.
Kyrell is the third brother and the only Newell to play defense. Starting this fall he plans to play Division I football for Drake in Des Moines.
“Arguably the best cornerback Lakeville North’s ever had,” Vossen said.
The youngest brother, Jamiah, an enigmatic running back, will be a senior this upcoming season. He had the pleasure of watching and playing with Kyrell.
“He has natural coverage skills,” Jamiah said. “There are some kids that can just play defense and there are some kids who just don’t have it. He’s a natural.”
Jamiah is no slouch, either. He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns this season and could well make the Newells 4-for-4 at producing college athletes.
“He really surprised me,” Kyrell said of Jamiah’s big season. “He did much better earlier than I expected him to. Football is his life, so it was really fun seeing him do well.”
All four Newells are considered undersized. Kyrell credited their dad for teaching them to compensate their lack of size with overall strength and ability.
“He just has a really good work ethic and instilled it into us when we were little,” Kyrell said. “We always gave it our best in everything we did. We always tried our hardest and got everything we could out of everything we did.”
It was a pleasure for Jamiah to play and contribute as much as he did last fall, especially knowing it would most likely be the last time he’d suit up with Kyrell on the football field.
“It’s special and it’s something a lot of kids don’t get to do. I really enjoyed it,” Jamiah said of playing with his brother. “It’s a good way for us to bond, and we’re pretty close, too. It was a really good experience and I was grateful that I was able to have it.”
And the brothers might be able to one day say they were all collegiate athletes, too.
“It would be a fun thing to tell my kids,” Kyrell said. “It would be cool to have that to say about my life and my family.”