- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2005

When inside linebacker Joe Cylc joins his brother Larry, a nose tackle, in the Navy defensive lineup, they are part of the team’s defensive foundation.

Larry, the starting nose tackle, and Joe, the top reserve at both inside linebacker positions for the Midshipmen, know plenty about foundations, having helped their father, Larry, build the family’s home in Delaware.

Larry Sr., a high school football coach and history teacher, had helped develop a few properties as a hobby, so when it came time for the family to move, they decided to build from scratch.

The construction started when Joe was in eighth grade and Larry was in seventh and lasted well into their high school careers.

“It was definitely a hands-on project,” Larry Sr. said. “[Joe and Larry] really invested a lot of time into it. We thought it would be a good school project.”

Their education did play a role in constructing the home. Joe and Larry attended Hodgson Vocational-Technical School in Newark, Del., where their father was the football coach. Joe studied in the electrical trades program, and Larry was in the plumbing program.

“Joe wired the entire house after his only experience was the electrical classes during his freshman year,” their father said. “[Building the house] took a little longer than normal, but we saved a lot of money. It was a great experience spending all that time with [Joe and Larry].”

Both Joe and Larry were decorated high school athletes. Joe was named first-team all-state in football and baseball. Larry won a state shot put title his senior year. One of their father’s assistant coaches was Jerry Lamey, who was also the school’s wrestling coach. He encouraged Joe and Larry to take up wrestling, and they both excelled.

They went against each other in practice every day, and both won state titles the same year — when Joe was a senior and Larry a junior. Joe wrestled at 215 pounds, while Larry wrestled in the heavyweight division.

“It was always pretty even. No one really ever killed the other person,” Joe said. “We were both state champions, so going against each other really helped. It was probably the best competition we could have.”

There were other battles growing up, of course. Tussling in the house stopped as the brothers neared high school, mostly because of an incident when Joe was 14.

“I remember the one time I split the back of his head open on a door or something,” Larry Jr. said. “I think that was the end of it. We realized we were getting too old and were starting to hurt each other pretty bad.”

When it came to deciding on a college, there was no fighting. Joe verbally committed to Delaware, his father’s alma mater. Navy began recruiting Larry, who was a junior at the time, and offered both brothers scholarships after reviewing Hodgson game film.

Joe shifted gears and signed with the Mids in May. Because he signed late, he spent a season at the Naval Academy Prep School. That enabled the brothers to enter the academy together. Pittsburgh and Boston College offered full scholarships to Larry, but Navy always was his No.1 choice, and Joe’s experience at NAPS reaffirmed that.

“[It helped] just being able to talk to [Joe] and get information about it,” Larry Jr. said. “You don’t really know what goes on here unless you know someone who went here or is going here. You just think military, and I had never been in a military situation. He was able to tell me about everyday things.”

Now juniors, Larry and Joe live at opposite ends of Bancroft Hall and have yet to take a class together, though they line up inches away from each other at practice.

Their father stepped down at Hodgson, in part because the school doesn’t have lights and the Saturday games would have conflicted with Navy’s schedule. After spending a year watching Joe and Larry practice every day, their father took the coaching job at A.I. Dupont High School in Greenville, Del.

The Tigers play on Friday nights, so there is no interference. Cylc even has incorporated some of what he has seen at Navy’s practices and at the Navy coaching clinic into his own program.

“This year has been great,” Larry Sr. said. “I’ve been more nervous for [my sons’] games than for my own. It’s not fair. Most coaches only have to get nervous once a weekend, but we play on Friday night, and we have to rally for the big game on Saturday.”

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