Terrance and Tavian Crowe posed for a photo together Wednesday before the Wittenberg Tigers got to work at practice on the grass field off McCreight Avenue.
Tavian, 19, has a 1-inch and 25-pound edge over Terrance, 23, these days, going by the heights and weights listed on the Wittenberg roster. For most of their lives, it was the other way around. When Terrance was a senior at Springfield High School, Tavian was in eighth grade. The age gap prevented them from playing organized football together until last season.
Even last year, although they were both on the Wittenberg roster, they didn’t get much time together on the field. Tavian arrived on campus with the biggest freshman class in school history — 89 recruits in all — while Terrance started as a junior and made the All-North Coast Athletic Conference first team.
Then on Saturday in Wittenberg’s 68-66, four-overtime victory at Denison, the brothers started together for the first time: Terrance at linebacker and Tavian on the defensive line.
“It’s always nice to see your little brother get some success at the college level with the same team,” Terrance said. “It’s nice to see his hard work is paying off and he’s getting out there and doing some things now.”
Terrance led the Tigers with 13 tackles against Denison. Tavian had four.
“It’s crazy playing with him now,” Tavian said. “It’s always been a dream of mine playing with big brother, obviously. He’s always been doing good. He gets a lot of accolades, gets a lot of recognition. It’s a blessing playing with him. He’s a good leader.”
Playing college football in their hometown means their family gets to experience game days with them.
“They love it,” Terrance said. “Grandpa comes to every game. Mom loves it. Dad loves it. Everybody gets a kick out of it.”
Terrance, a 2013 Springfield graduate, started his career at Division II Tiffin University, redshirting as a freshman. He transferred to Wittenberg in 2014, was ineligible to play that fall because some of his credits didn’t transfer and made an immediate impact in 2015.
When Tavian finished his high school football career in 2016, Terrance could sell him on a Wittenberg program that had won a North Coast Athletic Conference championship that season and a playoff game. Terrance said he put a buzz in his brother’s ear about Wittenberg.
“I let him know what we’re about,” Terrance said. “The tradition, the winning and just how much hard work it’s going to be to come play at Wittenberg. The payoff is amazing.”
Tavian didn’t need a long sales pitch.
“I can’t lie to you,” he said. “(Terrance) was a big reason why I came here — and the school and being close to home. Why not play with my big brother?”
The Crowe brothers continue a tradition of Springfield High School graduates succeeding at Wittenberg. Another former Wildcat, Thaddeus Snodgrass, has five touchdown catches.
“Terrance has had a really good career here,” Wittenberg coach Joe Fincham said, “and younger brother, he’s growing up. He went through the same struggles everyone goes through as a freshman. Now he’s a sophomore, and your sophomore year can be a tricky deal. You’re playing with and against guys who are a lot more mature than you are physically and mentally. He had a good camp and was in pretty good shape when he came in.”