DeBraga brothers are the ‘heartbeat’ of Mavs’ defense

Colorado Mesa safety Trent deBraga, top, is the top tackler for the Mavs and has also returned two interceptions for TDs. DeBraga is very familiar with the safety playing next to him on the field: his brother Trevor. Trevor joined the Mavs two years ago and joined his brother as a starter this season.

Trevor deBraga joined the Mavs two years ago and joined his brother, Trent, as a starter this season.

What once was a dream is now a reality for Trevor and Trent deBraga.

The deBragas grew up terrorizing opponents on the football field, but thought playing together was over when Trevor graduated high school.

Three years later, the Fallon, Nev., natives are back on the football field together again at Colorado Mesa University.

“After high school, it was tough, because we’ve been so close,” Trent said. “After high school we thought that was it. To play with him again is something special because we always wanted to do that.”

The brothers, who were three-sport athletes in high school, start in the defensive backfield for the Mavericks (1-4, 0-3 RMAC), who look for their first conference victory at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fort Lewis College (1-4, 0-3 RMAC) in Durango.

“Those two are the heartbeat of our team,” Mesa coach Joe Ramunno said. “We have some guys that really represent our team and what we’re about and those guys do. They are both excellent student-athletes.”

Trevor, 21, originally went to the University of Sioux Falls to play baseball. He redshirted his first year.

Trent, 20, considered going to Sioux Falls to play football and baseball with his brother.

“It was between here and Sioux Falls,” Trent said. “It was tough, because Sioux Falls was the defending (NAIA) national (baseball) champions. If I went there, I could possibly play baseball there as well.”

Instead, Trent decided to take some scholarship money to play and focus on football at what was then Mesa State College.

Trevor decided to play football at Sioux Falls the fall of 2009, but the coaching staff changed. He didn’t play much, so he called his brother.

Trent had a successful freshman year, returning punts and kicks, finishing second in the RMAC in kick return average.

Last fall, Trevor left Sioux Falls and joined Trent in Grand Junction. Both brothers are now juniors.

“I wanted to play with my brother,” Trevor said. “It feels just like high school. It’s something we talked about playing together at the college level. It’s like a dream now.”

Trevor mostly played special teams last season, like Trent did his freshman year.

Trent became a starting free safety last season and Trevor, who played linebacker in high school, earned a starting spot next to him at strong safety this fall.

Trent is second on the team with 47 tackles. He has three interceptions and returned two for touchdowns against Dixie State (Utah) College.

“Trent is our guy back there at free safety,” Ramunno said. “He can play anywhere.”

Trevor is fourth on the team with 38 tackles. He has three tackles for a loss, one interception and one fumble recovery.

“Trevor has gotten better and better every week,” Ramunno said.

Both brothers are doing well in academics with at least a 3.8 grade-point average, Ramunno said. Trent made the RMAC All-Academic team last year.

“The whole reason why we are so successful, growing up we didn’t have a normal lifestyle. We live on a farm and farm all summer long,” Trent said.

“We learned the value of hard work from our dad. We learned not to compete so much with each other, like brothers do, but to do the best in everything we do, even when we were younger.”


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