“We pride ourselves on hard work and being a long standing member of Bob Jones football,” said Dylan Haraway.
The junior and his brother, Dustin, a senior for the Patriots, currently line up as linebackers for Bob Jones as the Class 6, Region 8 champions prepare for the first round of the state playoffs. The Patriots host Gadsden City at Madison City Schools Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.
A deeper look into the Bob Jones program and you’ll find another Haraway family member a big part of the Patriots…past and present.
Dustin and Dylan’s father, Steve Haraway, is the football program’s booster club president and leads the more than 330 member organization in supplying numerous items for the 2012 version of the Patriots.
But the elder Haraway has a history with the Bob Jones football program that his two sons look up to, admire and use as an inspiration to be better football players.
“He’s always there for us and he watches our weekly game film and critiques my play helping me to get the best of me,” said Dustin. “I trust him. After all, he’s been there. He knows a lot about of the game and I listen and take his advice.”
Steve has been there. He was the Madison County Offensive MVP player as quarterback and was named All-County as punter as a member of the 1981 Bob Jones football team as his team put up a 9-1 record and claimed the Madison County Championship. For good measure, Steve also played starting safety for the Patriots.
“I’m glad my sons got to be part of the Bob Jones football program and keep the Haraway name on the team roster,” said Steve. “I take pride Dustin and Dylan are contributing and making a difference for this year’s team.”
A 1982 graduate of Bob Jones, Steve did not play college football, but instead began a business career, which led into two-terms (8-years) as Madison City Councilman and most recently won the District 2 Madison County Commissioner election and will be sworn in on Nov. 14. Since 1997, Steve has owned D and D Contracting (named after Dustin and Dylan).
Married to his wife, Donna, for 20 years, Steve works to keep their two sons aggressive in football and in life. His guidance with football began when Dustin was five years old as the Haraway family began its quest for football excellence in the Madison Pop Warner youth football program. Steve coached both of his sons until each began playing middle school football at Liberty. He was also a big part of his son’s recreational play.
“We lived next to Liberty School and our yard and driveway became the playing fields for the neighborhood kids,” said Steve. “I spent a lot of time with Dylan as he was once a quarterback. I helped Dustin and his defensive skills.”
“Dad is a huge inspiration as everything he does he will do it right the first time as Dustin and I have learned a lot from him,” said Dylan, 5-foot-11, 180-pound inside linebacker.
“It’s a pretty neat feeling knowing dad was a great player and I’m very proud of what he has done,” added Dustin, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound outside linebacker and who wears No. 11, the same number Steve wore in his years as a Patriot.
Steve said the speed and size of the game has changed dramatically since his days on the gridiron. “The off season programs that we didn’t have is the biggest factor, plus most of us played both ways in our days as today the players mostly hone into one skill position and focus on that position and get good at it.”
The game of football is a very violent sport by its nature and seeing both of their sons be involved can, at times, be very stressful and cause for alarm when Dustin and Dylan are involved in violent collisions and possible injury type situations. Steve said he has learned to take things in stride and stay calm when those occasions occur. Donna, on the other hand, gets very emotional, but has also learned to control her emotions as much as possible.
The Bob Jones program has excellent athletic trainers and medical staffing and Steve and Donna have trust in those experts to take care of their sons.
“I do tell my sons before each game to keep their heads up and try and keep from getting a neck injury as that’s my biggest concern,” said Steve, 48. “I try and not get in the way on the field as I let my sons be themselves as they always know I’m there to support them. Donna and I say many prayers for both of them.”
“Dad has this photographic memory of his playing days and is a history buff of Bob Jones football,” said Dustin. “He remembers the tough losses more than the wins and he wants Dylan and me to be prepared.”
Dylan added, “Its fun having him around and good to know he’s there for us and we have someone who cares as most kids don’t have that in their lives.”
When Bob Jones runs out onto the field this Friday for the first round of the state playoffs as four-time region 8 champs, No. 11 and No. 33 will lead the charge for the Patriots against the visiting Titans. On the sideline will be Steve, standing guard and watching the Haraway name continue the tradition.
Meanwhile, Donna will be among the crowd cheering her sons to victory and watching every move they make with nervousness that only a mother has toward her children.
“Football has been our whole life,” said Steve. “I would have loved to have both of my son’s talents on my team.”