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Athletes of the Week: East football’s Damarion Delaney, Deuce Zimmerman, Kyler Johnson and Elijah Reed

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:47 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Normally the “Athlete of the Week” stories are about one, single athlete, but this week it is focused on four because a person can’t talk about one without talking about the others.

The quintessential quadruplets, Deuce Zimmerman, Kyler Johnson, Damaron Delaney and Elijah Reed are the leaders of the Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School football team. If those names sound familiar, readers have probably heard them during basketball season as well. The four were also a part of East High’s 2020 state champion basketball team, and for the group of them, playing sports together is nothing new.

“We grew up with each other, me and Damarion are blood cousins,” said Zimmerman. “Elijah, he been there since third grade and Kyler been there since like sixth grade. We played basketball and football together so we clicked, we are like brothers.”

When sitting in the bleachers, it is easy to see that the four athletes get along not only by the numbers on the scoreboard but also the smiles on their faces throughout the entire game.

“Being with the team every day is nice, especially the last year, you know, it is nice having everybody with you’ve seen since they were freshmen and just playing with the same people you have been playing with since freshmen year,” said Reed.

Sometimes that type of joy and happiness can be perceived as not real, or only because they are on the field or court together. However, with these four, that is far from the case. Fans will seldom see one without the other three no matter where they find them.

“It is real love, we have all been playing together since before high school or middle school really,” Delaney said. “We all grew up together since third to fourth grade, from the first person on the basketball team to the last person, I promise you I have a connection and it’s like a really tight bond like a brother with every last one of them.”

With over 30 seniors leaving the Thunderbird football team from last season to this season, it was time for a new guard of leadership to step up. Johnson is the quarterback of the team and while that position is typically the main leader, Johnson has had plenty of help from his fellow seniors.

“It has helped a lot especially with 31 seniors leaving last year, us four talked about it and we had to take that roll and we have done a good job so far,” Johnson said.

A good comparison for the four athletes is to the four elements of water, wind, fire and earth. Water would be Reed — while the senior running back is a big man he seldom gets hit hard and the majority of the time he is finding small cracks in the defense and avoiding big hits like he is made of liquid.

Wind would be Delaney. The senior wide receiver and safety blows people away with his speed and at the same time when he hits someone, they feel it.

Fire is for Johnson. The senior quarterback even said it himself that he likes to be the spark the gets everyone going. While Johnson can be soft spoken, when he scores a touchdown with his arm or his legs one can really see that inner fire come out.

Earth is Zimmerman. The senior wide receiver and corner is solid as a rock and covers both sides of the field. Zimmerman’s coverage on the defensive side of the ball seems to engulf his opponent leaving them nowhere to go, because he is everywhere on the field.

When the athletes were asked which element they would be and what their teammates would be, it was completely random. Delaney said it best that all four of them could interchange and that is what makes them so special.

East is currently ranked No. 2 in the state and will be playing Service High School in the first round of the playoffs this weekend.

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