Editor's note: This story is featured in the Daily Citizen-News' weekly high school football Touchdown! section. Grab an issue in papers on Fridays during football season, or stop by our office for a copy.
VARNELL -- It's not hard to tell the Burse brothers apart.
On the football field, Ethan wears No. 82 for Coahulla Creek High School; Zandr' dons No. 3.
Ethan sticks to offense at receiver. Zandr' plays both ways at receiver and safety.
Ethan is the taller one. Zandr' is more outgoing.
But when it comes to who is the better football player, it depends on which brother you ask.
"He thinks he's better than me, but I think the other way," said Zandr', who is 16 months younger than Ethan. "We trash talk all of the time. It goes back to when we were 4 or 5 years old. We still love each other at the end of the day. We always know we're just goofing around and having fun."
Ethan agreed, saying "The bond is something that lasts forever."
Now seniors, the Burses have played football together since Ethan was 6 and Zandr' was 5. Through the years, they have always been on the same team, with Zandr' often at quarterback and Ethan at receiver. Coahulla Creek coach Caleb Bagley said the Burses were sophomores at the school during his first year, and they've always been in the mix for playing time.
"They're good athletes, have good ball skills, they compete well," Bagley said. "They like to have fun, too. They bring personality to the team. That can come in handy when things get rough, to have some kids that can stay positive, stay energetic, and they definitely can do that. Especially Zandr'. Sometimes we have to calm Zandr' down a little bit. They're fun."
The Burses' high school football careers come to a close tonight as the Colts (1-8, 0-7 in Region 6-3A) take on Ringgold at home.
One of Ethan's best memories from his career is the 75-yard touchdown pass he caught against defending state champion Calhoun on Oct. 25. He ran a go route, and quarterback Mason Turner hit Ethan for the Colts' only score.
"It felt like slow motion," Ethan said. "The ball was in the air, me catching it and then my heart just raced. It felt so good."
Although wins have been hard to come by this season, the Burses said the season's highlight was that lone win -- a 34-31 home win over Southeast Whitfield. It was revenge for the Colts, who lost to the Raiders in 2018 on a game-ending touchdown pass in overtime.
Both Ethan and Zandr' said they enjoyed their time on the football team. With football ending, they'll turn their attention to basketball.
"It's been rough, but I feel like the school is going to get better," Zandr' said. "I had fun playing here for four years. When we play on Fridays, even if we lose, we have a lot more fans out there cheering us on, having a lot of encouragement. It's just a good environment."