YORK — Malcolm Reynolds got two sacks last week in York High's 26-0 win over Poquoson in the first round of the Region I Division 3 football playoffs, giving him 10 for the season. That moved him a half-sack ahead of York's other defensive end, younger brother Darius Reynolds, bragging rights older brother is exercising regularly.
"He brings it up all the time," said Darius, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound freshman.
"I let him know," Malcolm, a 6-1, 200-pound junior, said with a smile.
York coach Doug Pereira, whose Falcons (9-2) play James Monroe (9-1) in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Maury Stadium in Fredericksburg, is smiling, too. He's pleased that the rivalry motivates both players and at the prospect that the Reynolds brothers return next season, along with most of the starters on a defense allowing only 176 yards and 13 points per game.
"They're very competitive but in a good way," Pereira said. "Both are athletic and are good kids with good grades.
"They're still learning their technique, and when they get that, the sky is the limit. Not that I'm complaining, because they've been very productive."
Malcolm ranks third on the team with 62 tackles. His 17 stops for loss are a team high.
"He's a great run stopper, but I think he could hit guys harder than he does," Darius said.
Darius is tied for fourth on the team with 46 tackles. His nine quarterback hurries are first on the team.
"Darius does a really good job rushing the quarterback with his hand up and messing up the pass," Malcolm said. "He has to learn to keep his eye on the ball better to see where the play is going."
The Reynolds brothers have made some of their biggest plays in the biggest games, setting up both of the Falcons' touchdowns in the 21-13 loss at Smithfield in a showdown for first in the Bay Rivers District.
Darius set up one score by returning a fumbled punt 21 yards. Malcolm set up the second by forcing a fumble that teammate Staffon Smith ran 71 yards for a touchdown.
They teamed together for a combination sack/forced fumble on the game-clinching play of the 31-24 win over rival Grafton with just over a minute remaining. Darius chased the Clippers' quarterback into the arms of Malcolm, who forced a fumble that his younger brother recovered.
"That was a lot of fun," Darius said. "It makes a good story — 'The Reynolds brothers.'"
Malcolm admits to feeling some pressure to one-up Darius, because he's the older sibling, but is, in truth, happy to see him succeed.
"I'm very proud of him," Malcolm said. "I was anxious (at the beginning of the season) to see if he'd be able to handle playing on varsity, and am surprised at how well he's done."
Darius also trumpets his brother's success.
"I think Malcolm (a second-team all-district selection) should've been first team," he said. "It's pretty cool to see how well he's done."
Back when they were kids playing youth football, they'd suit up in the backyard and play one-on-one: one carrying the football, the other tackling. Now they watch video together at home to prepare for opponents like James Monroe.
"Our goal has been to get back to James Monroe because losing to them last year (in the regional final) was hard to handle," Malcolm said.
His advice to Darius as he prepares for his first playoff game?
"He said, 'Play every play your hardest, because if you lose it's your last game,'" Darius said.