From left: Montrell, Travis and Treyveyion Custis have made Lovejoy football a type of family tradition. "They all have the same last name, but they are each their own man," said Lovejoy coach Al Hughes.
HAMPTON — When Montrell Custis snagged North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen’s errant pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown, he didn’t celebrate too much. He tossed the ball to an official and jogged back to the sideline.
Lovejoy running back Travis Custis was walking toward him. He greeted him with a hug and a couple of pats on the head.
It was Lovejoy’s second pick six of the game and the first of three scores in a 21-point third quarter that helped tip the scales back in the Wildcats’ favor after being down 21-7 early on.
Oh, and that last touchdown of the third quarter? A 28-yard Custis scamper. This time by Travis. Montrell’s score gave Lovejoy momentum. Travis’ touchdown sustained it into the fourth quarter.
Talk about a family resemblance.
And it didn’t start here.
Travis Custis, for all his stardom as a Wildcats’ running back, is not the first Custis to pass through the practice fields of Lovejoy. It all began with Travis’ brother, Alejandro.
“I remember when Alejandro played here and he was doing good as a linebacker,” Travis Custis said. “I was breaking all the records in (Lovejoy) Middle School. And people were asking Alejandro, ‘Who is your little brother? We want him here bad.’”
Alejandro played linebacker at Lovejoy and helped little brother Travis learn what it was like to play for coach Al Hughes. And according to 1Hughes, the transition wasn’t very difficult for Travis.
“The same way he was as a freshman is the same way he is now,” Hughes said. “His demeanor, his work ethic, even his running style. If you can’t see that it’s all the same as it has always been you’re just not looking.”
Montrell, Travis and his brother Treveyion are the latest pieces of the Custis clan to come through and make a mark on Lovejoy athletics. But while Travis’ time as a Wildcat is coming to an end, Montrell and Treveyion Custis are just getting their feet wet.
Montrell, a sophomore, has enjoyed increased playing time as he’s become more comfortable with defensive coordinator Kevin Jones’ attacking defensive style.
Montrell Custis has recorded 57 tackles, four interceptions and a team leading 25 pass breakups from his safety spot. Meanwhile, freshman Treyveion, also a safety, has notched 24.5 tackles and six pass breakups.
Even as young players, their playmaking ability is clearly seen. And as Travis moves on to Georgia Tech, the younger members of the Custis family will be stepping into more playing time in 2013. Some may be expecting the younger Custises to feel pressure to carry on the legacy.
But Montrell Custis said it’s more a privilege than pressure.
“I don’t feel like I’ll have pressure,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’ll have to be the one carrying the team. We know Travis is Travis. Everybody knows that. All I can do is be who I am and play to win games.”
Make no mistake about it, though. Travis has definitely left his mark on his younger family members, both on and off the field.
“Travis has taught me how to be a leader,” Treveyion Custis said. “He’s taught me how to have intensity for the game and never give up. He’s got a lot of wisdom. I feel like he’s already made a name for me and now it’s up to me and my cousin (Montrell) to fulfill it. I do see us as carrying the legacy.”
Travis Custis said he is pleased with the way his brother and cousin are already making that happen.
“I’m proud of these guys and how they’ve been stepping up so far,” Travis Custis said. “You can tell by watching how they play now that their future will be bright.”
The Custis trio all agreed that getting on the field without their oldest member will feel strange next year. But right now, next year isn’t important. Travis Custis said they are all solely focused on their last chance to be successful together in a Lovejoy uniform.
“We’re going to go out and do everything in our power to win that state championship,” Travis Custis said.