By Wade Jewkes
ALPINE — When it comes to rivalry week in the Doug and Jody Mower family, brotherly love wins out.
Some families are bitterly split in their allegiances, but not the Mower clan. Son Matt and daughter Mindy graduated from Brigham Young University, as did their parents. Tyler is a BYU freshman and Katie, a BYU sophomore, dances for the Cougarettes.
There is no division in this family on which team they will be rooting for when BYU plays Utah on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
They are decidedly red.
Clint Mower is the Utes' long-snapper and a three-year starter. Last year when the teams played in Provo, the Cougarettes danced first on the visiting team sidelines. Clint, dressed in uniform, walked over to Katie and gave her a hug. One of Katie's Cougarette mates said, "We can't have any of that going on."
"We didn't know this was a holy war until we started to cheer for Utah," Jody said.
Especially in Utah County.
The Mower family does support Katie in the Cougarettes and regularly attends games to watch her dance. But Katie is the first to clarify that when her family wears blue, the shirts are very specific.
"They say 'Cougarettes'," she said.
Often the family will leave at halftime after the Cougarette performance and travel to the Utah game. Such was the case when Utah played Utah State in an evening game in Logan. On one occasion last year, they left the BYU game after halftime and traveled to the airport to catch a plane to Las Vegas to see the Utes play.
"We changed shirt colors in the airport," Jody said.
Clint is a little disappointed he doesn't get more support from his Lone Peak High school friends, but he still wears his red Utah sweatshirt when he hangs out with them. He is expecting another hug from Katie at the game.
The Cougarettes usually don't travel with the team, and Katie was planning to sit in the stands with her family on Saturday and wear read. Now the Cougarettes are scheduled to be on the BYU sidelines, so Katie will be dressed in her blue uniform. She still plans to give her brother a hug.
"Maybe after the game," Clint said.
Out of high school, Clint attended Dixie State and then went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Paris. When he returned, he enrolled in classes at both BYU and Utah before he went to talk with the coaches about walking on.
After speaking with coaches on both sides, he felt Utah was a better fit — and he was awarded a scholarship after the very first game.
His skills at long-snapping are such that he will be looked at by the National Football League.
"I'm not putting all my eggs in the NFL basket," he said. As a biology major, he is looking to attend medical school.
Clint serves as a co-chairman on the Latter-day Saint Athletes Association on the Utah campus, where he is a football representative. He says the football team has a nondenominational chaplain who talks to the players before every game. The chaplain travels with the team and sometimes lines up guest speakers.
As for the Cougarettes, Katie says there's a "real spiritual factor" to being part of the team.
"We have designated times to talk about conference and other spiritual things," she said. "We pray before and after every practice."
Clint is sporting a full beard that he would not have been able to grow at BYU. He started growing it at the beginning of the season, and the Utes have yet to lose.
"This is my 11-0 beard," he said.