High School Football: ‘War Daddies’ Brown and January create havoc for Springfield defense

Springfield High School senior Tywan January sacks Northmont quarterback Cahke' Cortner while senior teammate Jokell Brown celebrates during their game on Friday, Oct. 29 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
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Springfield High School senior Tywan January sacks Northmont quarterback Cahke' Cortner while senior teammate Jokell Brown celebrates during their game on Friday, Oct. 29 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

SPRINGFIELD — Maurice Douglass has a nickname for Springfield’s game-wrecking senior defensive tackles Jokell Brown and Tywan January — War Daddies.

The term is defined as a fierce, dominant defensive player who destroys their opponents.

“They hold that middle down week-in and week-out,” the Springfield High School football coach said. “Those guys are War Daddies. I tell every college coach if they’d were 6-1 and above, they’d both be Power 5 guys. They’re both extraordinary players on the line of scrimmage.”

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The Wildcats duo has been wrecking defenses across the state the past two seasons. January is tied for the team lead with 68 total tackles, while Brown ranks second with 51 tackles. They’ve each tallied three sacks this season, while Brown has forced two fumbles.

January was recently named Greater Western Ohio Conference Athlete of the Year along with teammate Te’Sean Smoot and Springboro senior Nathan Coy. Both Brown and January also earned all-GWOC first team honors.

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Springfield High School senior Tywan January celebrates during their game against Dublin Jerome on Friday, Nov. 5 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Springfield High School senior Tywan January celebrates during their game against Dublin Jerome on Friday, Nov. 5 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
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Springfield High School senior Tywan January celebrates during their game against Dublin Jerome on Friday, Nov. 5 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

The defensive lineman have been key cogs in Springfield’s defense that’s allowed just 6.9 points per game this season. Brown is a stout run defender who can take on double teams, while January is more twitchy and explosive, but both “create havoc in the backfield for us,” Douglass said.

“They’re my boys,” Douglass said. “I’m going to hate to lose them next year, but I’m going to enjoy them for the next few weeks.”

Back in the day, Brown and January wreaked havoc on defenses as teammates for their bantam team in first and second grade. January later moved to Huber Heights and played against his old teammates at Wayne until he returned to Springfield for his junior year.

“(Jokell) has been my best friend since bantam,” January said. “I figured I would come back and play with my brother for our senior year. We had to lock in.”

Springfield (10-1) is seeking its third straight trip to the Division I state semifinals. The second-seeded Wildcats will face sixth-seeded Findlay (9-3) in a D-I, Region 2 semifinal game at 7 tonight at Bellefontaine High School. The winner will face either top-seeded Marysville (11-0) or fourth-seeded Toledo Whitmer in the Region 2 final on Nov. 19.

Caption
Springfield High School senior Jokell Brown (57) celebrates during their game against Northmont on Friday, Oct. 29 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Springfield High School senior Jokell Brown (57) celebrates during their game against Northmont on Friday, Oct. 29 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Springfield High School senior Jokell Brown (57) celebrates during their game against Northmont on Friday, Oct. 29 in Springfield. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

“We’ve got a lot of experience and we’re looking forward to getting the main goal this year and keeping it going,” Brown said. “We just want to go 1-0 every week.”

Both Brown and January have nearly 10 offers from Division II schools. January also received an offer from Akron, but coach Tom Arth was recently fired after a 2-7 start this fall.

While they may not have the measurables — Brown is 6-0, 285 pounds and January is 5-11, 280 pounds — college coaches are seeking, the duo’s play speaks for itself, Douglass said.

“They’re War Daddies every play,” Douglass said. “Whoever gets them is going to be happy that they got them.”

Both hope to play at the next level, but they’re solely focused on getting one step further than they did last season — Week 16.

“It’s just the beginning right now,” Brown said. “We’re just trying to enjoy the run and bring something to Springfield that’s never been done before.”


Today’s Game

Who: 6 Findlay (9-3) vs. 2 Springfield (10-1)

What: Division I, Region 2 semifinal

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Bellefontaine High School AcuSport Stadium

Tickets: To purchase tickets, log on to OHSAA.org/tickets.

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