WINDSOR, Colo. — When Jackson Lewis looks across McKinney ISD Stadium in Texas on Saturday at the NCAA Division II football national championship, he'll see a familiar face on the opposing sideline: his brother.
"It's going to be really cool," said Jackson, a redshirt freshman defensive back for the Colorado School of Mines "It's already such a cool opportunity to be part of. We're both really blessed."
His younger brother, Grayson, plays for Harding University, the final team standing in the way of the Orediggers' first-ever football national title.
In another life, however, Grayson would be alongside Jackson wearing Mines' blue and silver.
"Grayson is 13 months younger than me," said Jackson, remembering back to the recruiting process at Windsor High School. "I really wanted him to come play here, but he ended up not getting an offer [to Mines]. I was pretty disappointed. This is something he should be a part of too, and I really want him here. But Harding really wanted him, so he ended up going there. It ended up being a great decision for both of us."
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The split creates both a blessing and a curse that well-known football mom Donna Kelce knows all too well. Donna watched her sons Travis and Jason Kelce play against each other during Super Bowl LVII.
"Especially for my parents, it's really awesome to have them be a part of that," said Jackson.
Jackson's parents had hoped to make special jerseys representing both of their sons but couldn't get them stitched together in time.
"I'm sure if we meet again that'll happen," Jackson said.
Jobe Lewis is a football coach at Windsor High School. He's also the father of Jackson, Grayson and their youngest brother, Piercen. After Mines and Harding both won their semifinal matchups — confirming a national title tilt between the Lewis brothers — the Lewis patriarch took to social media and inadvertently went viral.
"I think he went rogue," said Jackson. "I didn't even know about it until six hours after he posted it."
1/ @minesfootball and @harding_FB have very unique recruiting challenges compared with many other schools across the country. But overcoming those challenges has uniquely propelled them to success— Jobe Lewis (@jobelewis28) December 11, 2023
The thread isn't merely about the unique situation the Lewis family finds itself in. It details the challenges both Mines and Harding face in fielding competitive football teams and the layered adversity both have overcome to reach the NCAA DII national championship.
"I saw it and was like, "Wow, this is really cool,"" said Jackson. "I texted him and said, "I saw your Twitter thread went viral." He said, "Yeah. I meant to tell you about that."
"It's really well worded and an awesome story to put out there."
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By kickoff on Saturday, the "Colorado Kelces" will in McKinney, Texas, ready to cheer on both of their boys.
"It's pretty freakin' sweet," said Jackson. "It's going to be really huge for my whole family."
However, they're not willing to write this off as a one-time thing.
"It's going to be really cool to go through these programs and hopefully still play against each other," said Jackson. "I hope this opportunity comes again."