Bond of brothers

Trio of deBraga brothers shoring up Mesa secondary

The deBraga brothers, from left to right and top to bottom at right, Trent, Trevor and Frank are all contributing to the Colorado Mesa defense. Trent and Trevor are the starting safeties and Frank is a backup strong safety and special teams contributor.

Colorado Mesa University defensive back Frank deBraga

Colorado Mesa University defensive back Trevor deBraga

Colorado Mesa University defensive back Trent deBraga


Chadron State (1-1) at Colorado Mesa (0-2)

Saturday, 1 p.m., Stocker Stadium

Radio: 1230-AM (KEXO), 99.9-FM (KEKB)

The Coaches

Chadron State — Jay Long, first season, 1-1. Colorado Mesa — Russ Martin, first season, 0-2.

Last Week

Chadron State QB Jonn McLain ran for a touchdown and threw for one in a 19-7 victory over Angelo State.

Colorado Mesa gave up a fumble return for a score and a 67-yard punt return to set up another score in a 40-3 loss to Northern Colorado.

Series History

Chadron State leads 16-5. The Eagles have won the past eight meetings, including a 24-17 overtime victory in each team’s season finale last year in Chadron, Neb.

Players to Watch

Chadron State

QB Jonn McLain has completed 19 of 40 passes for 114 yards and 1 TD. RB Glen Clinton has 28 carries for 178 yards (6.4 per carry). LB Kevin Lindholm leads the team with 10 tackles (5 for a loss, 1 sack). DE Keifer Burke has 10 tackles, including 3 for a loss.

Colorado Mesa

QB Deke Cisco has completed 20 of 41 passes for 165 yards with 1 TD and 4 interceptions. RB Jake Cimolino has 30 carries for 208 yards (6.9 per carry). CB Travis McRae leads the team with 17 tackles. KR Jordan Price has 5 returns for 126 yards (25.2 per return).

Injury Report

Colorado Mesa LB Clint Imlay has a partially torn knee ligament and is out, but he is expected to return later this season. DE Domonique Lewis is hindered by a pulled hamstring and won’t play. OL Teddy Silano will see limited action with a broken hand and a shoulder injury.

Coach Martin says:

On Chadron State’s team:

“They have a lot of really good players back. They have built stability in that program. Going back, they’ve been one of the top teams in the conference for a long time. If you look back over the last 16–17 years, I’ll guess they’ve won as many conference championships as anybody or more.”

On the Eagles’ coaching staff:

“They have good coaches, guys with experience in the program from immediate and previous years. Coach Long has some great ties there. It’s not like it’s an unsettled program.”

On Chadron QB Jonn McLain:

“Jonn already has experience in the system and is a pretty good leader. He minimizes mistakes, which is a huge part for them.”

On RBs Glen Clinton and Dominic Morris:

“Clinton and the Morris kid are both explosive and good downhill runners. They are tough to tackle, but also fast. They’ve each had runs that go the distance.”

On the Eagles’ defensive line:

“They’ve got some good guys up front. Jan Karlos Medina is tough inside and very physical. They will run better than anybody we’ve played up front. He was a tough kid.”

On preseason All-RMAC LB Kevin Lindholm:

“He is a very good one. He is very athletic and runs very well. He’s outstanding as a blitzer. He’s going to make some plays. He’s a high-motor guy. He’s not going to stay blocked.”

On Chadron State’s secondary:

“Their corners are big kids. They are converted wide receivers. They have good ball skills.”

Game Notes

■ The Mavericks’ defense doesn’t have an interception or sack through the first two games.

■ CMU redshirt freshman linebacker Luke Knapton is making his second start of the season filling in for Imlay.

■ Mavs RB Jake Cimolino is second in the RMAC in rushing with 104 yards per game.

■ Chadron State has won eight RMAC titles in the past 16 years, more than any other program during that period.

■ The Eagles have 38 players back from last season, including 16 starters.

There was never a question where Frank deBraga wanted to go to college.

All he needed to know was whether the new football coaching staff at Colorado Mesa University was interested in him.

The freshman defensive back wanted an opportunity to play with his brothers Trevor and Trent again.

“It’s a blessing,” Frank de-Braga said. “Once I found out I could have the opportunity to play with them, I was pretty much sold.”

Frank, who is living with his brothers off-campus, is getting an opportunity to play on special teams and as a backup to his brothers.

CMU coach Russ Martin said he planned to redshirt the freshman, but lack of depth in the secondary necessitated playing him this year.

“He’s a younger model of the other two,” Martin said. “Honestly, when we recruited him, I don’t know if it was Trevor or Trent, it might have been both of them, that said Frank was the best athlete of them. It’s great when the older brothers think of a younger brother in that fashion.

“It’s great to have a young man with his character and ability that’s able to step in and give us depth in that situation.”

Trent, 21, came to Mesa in 2009 despite interest from some NCAA Division I Football Championship Series (FCS) schools, but by the time he sent videotapes out, those schools were out of scholarship money.

Mesa was still interested and had scholarship dollars available.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Trent said. “Coming here has been a blessing. I couldn’t picture myself being anywhere else — from the teammates, coaching staffs — and all the people I’ve met here have been amazing.”

He played immediately as a freshman and led the team in kickoff returns.

The next year, Trevor, 22, transferred to Mesa from the University of Sioux Falls.

Trevor went to Sioux Falls, S.D., originally on a baseball scholarship. He redshirted his first year and planned to play football, but he realized something was missing.

“Once my brother came here and told me how much he liked it, I thought maybe I should be closer to home and transfer here,” Trevor said. “We’re really family oriented. We were best friends growing up. That has a lot to do with growing up on a farm.”

Trent added, “We looked at it from the perspective that not everybody gets an opportunity to play with their brothers. It’s something special. It’s nice because our parents never have to worry about going to separate places.”

Besides playing football with Trent again, Trevor said he’s getting an opportunity to be on the field with Frank for the first time. Frank was in middle school when Trevor was a senior in high school.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Trevor said.

All three of them are seeing action on the field.

Trent earned his way into the starting lineup at free safety and has received several accolades along the way. He is a Capital One Academic All-American and All-RMAC kick returner and safety.

Trevor quickly found time on the field next to his brother, starting seven games last season at strong safety. He is listed as an outside linebacker this season, but he serves as an extra defensive back on the field.

They are both defensive captains this season.

“They are quality individuals and very good leaders,” Martin said. “Both of them have tremendous experience in the secondary. They are able to make calls and communicate things to guys.”

Frank primarily is playing special teams, but he sees some time in a backup role at strong safety.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to make the team better,” Frank said. “That’s how you look at it.

“My brothers have always been there for me. If I have any questions, I’m never afraid to ask. I’ve always relied on them and looked up to them.”


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