SALT LAKE CITY – Saturday’s ‘Holy War’ match-up between BYU and Utah features a pair of brothers on both sides of the rivalry divide.
The Barton brothers play for Utah, and FOX 13 Sports' Morgan Vance caught up with the pair before Saturday’s game.
“Mikki said recently, 'We can't ever go out for a Coke break during the game, that we always have to watch because somebody could be out there,'" Paul Barton, the brothers' father, said.
Jackson and Cody Barton are both sophomores, and after spending most of their freshman campaigns primarily on special teams, their work-load has increased. Jackson is now on offense and Cody on defense.
“We can just totally be into every moment of that game,” Mikki Kane-Barton, the brothers' mother, said.
But before their time in red, the Bartons were waving the blue and orange at Brighton High School.
“Sports wasn't an option at the Barton household, you had to play some kind of sport, but luckily for us, we all loved it,” Jackson Barton said.
Sports is in the Barton’s blood. Their mom, Mikki, was a dual sport star for Utah in both basketball and volleyball in the late eighties and earlier nineties, prompting Kyle Whittingham to call her possibly the best athlete in the history of the university.
But, how different things could have been.
"My parents were both alumni of BYU, and that was encouraged by them, but I was always gonna play basketball, and BYU did not recruit me for basketball,” Mikki Kane-Barton said.
The Barton’s father, Paul, once backed up a future NFL quarterback in red.
“My closest thing was, the week of the BYU game,” Paul Barton said. “Scott Mitchell got hurt and Mike Richmond got hurt, and I took some reps.”
Paul would later switch over to baseball at the U of U. He started pitching for them, and then ended up playing for the Blue Jays in the minors.
Despite being only one year apart, Jackson and Cody didn’t get to play together much in high school, as Cody was injured his Junior year.
“We only got to play one game, and it was over at Rice-Eccles for the playoff game,” Jackson Barton said. “I'm thinking [we are] catching up for lost time. I'm so excited he committed here, came here with me. So now I get to see my brother every day, get to hang out with him, get to talk.”
Utah has been on the brothers' radar for a while.
“It's just been the last probably 10 years that we've really pushed the whole Utah thing and going back to Utah, and actually it became something that we realized, our kids could actually go to Utah, I think,” Miki Kane-Barton said.
Their positions on the field are only the start to the differences between Jackson and Cody.
“I think one takes more after me, and the other one takes more after their dad, and I’m not gonna tell you which is which,” Mikki Kane-Barton said.
Cody got the speed, and Jackson the size. At 6-foot-7, he has 5 inches and 78 pounds on his younger brother.
“Ugh, I think he took all the breast milk when we were kids, but I don't know,” Cody Barton said.
Jackson adds: “I just ate all his food when I was little. He wouldn't eat as much, and so I was the garbage disposal with him.”
But one commonality has brought them this far.
“They're both hard workers, and I knew they did have potential, and hopefully they'd work hard to reach that potential,” Paul Barton said.
And soon there will be a third Barton at the U. The Barton’s sister, Dani, is one of the top volleyball recruits in the nation and was a freshman when Jordan and Cody were upper classmen at Brighton.
“I mean, I got asked to the dances, but it kinda took a while sometimes cause boys would get kind of scared and my brothers would like threaten their football team to not ask me,” Dani said.