Dylan Dobzanski never stopped liking football.
Bryan Dobzanski never started.
But they both felt a tug from the game that has been a big part of their family for most of their lives. They both decided to play for Delsea this season.
The results have been remarkable for the cousins and the Crusaders.
Dylan Dobzanski, a senior defensive end, and Bryan Dobzanski, a junior wide receiver/defensive back, have played key roles in helping Delsea (10-1) reach the South Jersey Group 3 championship game.
"I can't say I expected it," said Delsea coach Sal Marchese, whose team will face Northern Burlington (7-4) in the sectional final at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rowan University.
Dylan Dobzanski played a lot of youth football. He played with Woodbury star Anthony Averett in the Washington Township youth program.
But Dylan Dobzanski decided not to play in high school because he was more focused on wrestling. Plus, he thought he was too light to make an impact in football.
"I knew this was my last chance," Dylan Dobzanski said. "I decided I had to play or I would regret it."
Bryan Dobzanski tried football for one season when he was seven. He didn't like it.
"I don't even remember what it was like," he said.
But he decided to give the sport a try this season, in part because of his cousin's return to the game but also to satisfy his own curiosity.
"It's such a big thing in our family," Bryan Dobzanski said. "I had to see what it was like."
Bryan Dobzanski is one of the top athletes in South Jersey. He was 50-3 and finished third in the state in wrestling at 195 pounds last winter. He is a baseball star who has a 90-m.p.h. fastball.
It turns out that he also can play football. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete has eight catches for 193 yards (24.1-yard average) and four touchdowns. He has made a major impact as a defensive back, and he registered his first interception in last weekend's semifinals against Bridgeton, returning it 62 yards for a touchdown.
"I got it at the right time, in the playoffs," Bryan Dobzanski said.
Dylan Dobzanski also is a top wrestler. He went 40-10 and was third in Region 8 at 160 pounds last season.
He has been a revelation at defensive end, according to Marchese. The 6-0, 185-pound athlete has 74 tackles, including eight sacks.
But his ball skills have been off the charts. He has three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He has returned fumbles for touchdowns in Delsea's two playoff victories.
"I guess I have a nose for the ball," Dylan Dobzanski said.
Marchese knew after last season that he had a good group returning for 2012. He just never expected to get such a boost from two athletes playing high school football for the first time.
"I knew they were tough kids and good athletes," Marchese said. "But what they've done, it's really remarkable."