Knowing their game was getting out of hand in the second quarter on Friday night, Justin Tranquill and his brother Drue realized there may only be one drive remaining before they'd be pulled.
Each brother had already scored two touchdowns as Carroll High School was running away from DeKalb in the regular season finale, but there was only room for one of them in the huddle. Justin came up with a way to decide who would play and who would watch, according to Drue.
“He was like, ‘You know what? Rock, paper, scissors,’” Drue recalled.
The plan was for a quick best-of-three to determine the winner, but after three straight ties, Drue was relegated to a spectator after a winner-take-all round.
“I threw scissors,” said Drue. “I thought he was going to throw paper, but he threw that rock and smashed me, so I got to watch him scamper down the sidelines.
“He ended up getting one more touchdown than me because of it.”
Justin finished the day with 157 yards and three touchdowns on just three carries while Drue finished with 119 yards and two touchdowns in Carroll’s 79-7 victory.
The next day, the brothers headed up to South Bend together to check out the Notre Dame-USC contest and like his brother, Justin came away very impressed.
“It was the best experience I had by far,” the 2015 running back/receiver said. “It was awesome. The recruits we got to be around were all awesome. It was a great game, intense the entire time. It was a great experience. I couldn’t have had much of a better time.
“Overall, it was just awesome. Going in, I didn’t really know much about the rivalry until my friend was telling me about it on the way up. Getting to be around that and feeling the passion that everyone has for Notre Dame football was awesome. All of the fans, all of the players’ excitement on the field, you could just feel it in the atmosphere there. It had to be one of my better experiences of any visit I’ve been on.”
The younger Tranquill already has offers from Toledo and Eastern Michigan and is receiving interest from schools like Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri and Vanderbilt among others. He was at the Notre Dame-Michigan State game last month, but the atmosphere on Saturday was different just as the Irish coaches said it would be beforehand.
“They were telling us how the game was going to be the craziest game of the year and how the atmosphere would be nothing compared to the Michigan State game, that the game was going to be out of control,” Justin said.
“Being at a night game, it’s almost like Friday Night Football being under the lights and everything like that. It was just a great feeling.”
The younger Tranquill could also see a difference in the atmosphere inside the stadium because of the late start.
“There were a few people behind us who you could tell had a little too much fun tailgating because they were shouting some things that didn’t make much sense the entire game,” he laughed. “But it was fun and enjoyable and they had me laughing the whole game, so it was good.”
Prior to the game, the brothers were at the Gug, where they spoke with area recruiter Mike Elston and Notre Dame recruiting analyst J.R. Sandlin.
“They talked to us a little bit about recruiting,” said Justin. “Mainly they were talking to Drue because they’re trying to get Drue onboard right now. Coach Elston talked to me for a bit, telling me to keep up the hard work I’m doing right now and to keep putting my film together so he could keep showing the coaches.”
After watching the Irish’s victory, they were able to go inside the locker to hear Brian Kelly postgame speech.
“It was pretty exciting to be able to hear that,” Justin said. “The passion that he has for the program was awesome to see.”
They also spoke with other players on the team and were able to reunite with fellow Fort Wayne native Jaylon Smith, who had a big game and a huge interception against the Trojans.
“It was exciting to talk to him. He was pretty pumped up and emotional after the win, talking about the pick and how excited he was. It was a big game for him. We were just talking about how awesome it was to watch him and he was talking about how crazy it was to be in the atmosphere.”