Senior Delano Shumphert is a big part of the Trojans' success, which includes a sectional championship for the first time since 2008. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Senior Delano Shumphert is a big part of the Trojans' success, which includes a sectional championship for the first time since 2008. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
BOURBON – From the porch lights to the Friday night lights, Triton football has been a family affair.

The Trojans have several players on the team who are related to each other. Senior running back Delano Shumpert is the older brother of sophomore running back D’Angelo Shumpert.

The Shumpert brothers are cousins on their mother’s side with senior quarterback James Snyder and his brother, sophomore center Luke Snyder.

Senior wide receiver Nate Riggins is a cousin to all of them. They use their kinship to keep each other in check.

“We know what we can do, so it’s a lot of accountability,” Delano Shumpert said. “If one of us is slacking, we’ll get on them super quick to change that.”

That accountability has played a part in unprecedented success at Triton. The Trojans reached nine wins for the first time in program history with last week’s sectional championship victory over North Judson.

Long before that, though, the Shumperts, Snyders and Rigginses were just kids playing backyard football.

A lack of proper pads didn’t stop them from launching themselves at each other.

“We just had a lot of fun,” Riggins said.

In between the hard hits, they  dreamed of playing Division I football.

They even talked about how they would one day suit up for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, though Snyder joked that none of them could get into the university.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have smarts. The older players are knowledgeable about football, and take the opportunity to school their younger relatives whenever they can.

Delano Shumpert often helps his little brother on the finer points of playing running back and defensive back, and the two watch game film together at home.

“He teaches me a lot,” D’Angelo Shumpert said. “He helps me get better.”

As James Snyder is the quarterback, he’s familiar with the offensive line and helps his brother learn and grow as a center.

Triton coach Ron Brown also benefits from their familial relationships.

The older siblings and cousins act as coaches to their younger relatives, and in turn, the younger players play not-so-confidential informant to the coaching staff.

“If I want to find out dirt on (the older ones), I can just ask the younger brothers and they’re always happy to oblige and let me know what’s going on,” Brown said.

On Friday nights, of course, the payoff is a fan section filled with Shumperts, Snyders and Rigginses.

Delano Shumpert estimated that a quarter of the bleachers are taken up by family members.

“It’s nice to have your whole family there supporting you, and supporting more than one player,” Delano Shumpert said. “It makes us feel good, helps us play better.”

On the field, those neighborhood football games stir up memories and create chemistry between James Snyder and Delano Shumpert.

“Since playing backyard football, I know where (Delano’s) gonna be,” James Snyder said. “I know when he runs a route and I have to scramble out of the pocket, he’ll find a way to get open. I know his speed, so I can hit him in stride.”

That chemistry will be essential as the Trojans host Class 1A  No. 1 Pioneer Friday at 7 p.m. in a regional championship game.

The Panthers are the defending state champions, have outscored their opponents 772-32 this season and take a 27-game win streak into Friday’s game in Bourbon.

Triton was one of three teams to score on them, when the Trojans lost 56-6 in Week 6.

Triton, however, remains undeterred.

“(We’re) gonna give them the respect they deserve, but we’re also gonna show them that respect by coming out and playing them as hard and as physical as we possibly can and see what happens at the end,” Brown said.

“It’s our goal to see if we can take it in the fourth quarter, and let it be close and then let some weird things happen.”

Delano Shumpert is confident in Triton’s chances, especially with family by his side.

And, he doesn’t limit the word “family” to blood relatives.

“The whole team, we’re all family,” he said. “No matter what.”