The Long brothers – Dylan, Jake and Owen together at La Serna
What’s better than one Long in the La Serna High School sports program? How about three.
With the addition of incoming freshman Owen Long, there will be three of them roaming the hallways and football and baseball fields in 2021.
“We just want to get out there,” Owen Long said. “I’m excited for this opportunity to play with my brothers. Just to be on the same field with both of them is awesome.”
Senior Dylan Long will finish up his four years next spring and middle brother, Jake Long, begins his second year at the Whittier campus.
All three participate in both football and baseball and will leave a very positive mark on the school.
“It’s a close-knit family and it’s going to be a great time in their lives to be together,” La Serna football coach Andy George said. “At times they will be on the field at the same time during practice.
“I’m excited for the Long brothers in our program and they are great students. They make coaching fun”
Dylan, the oldest at 17, could be the most frustrated with all that’s going on nowadays.
“Oh my gosh,” he said. “You don’t even know it. You watch these other states (playing). It’s frustrating.”
Dylan, you see, is waiting to get his opportunity to lead the team at quarterback this year, but will still have to wait until January when the season actually starts.
However, that aside, he is elated at the chance to roam the halls and the diamond and gridiron with his brothers.
“It’s exciting to be in school with my brothers,” he said. “But, now because of Covid I miss the opportunity to be the big brother and bring them to school.”
Said Jake of this long-awaited year-long moment together at school: “In middle school, we were always talking about being in high school for one year together.”
Baseball coach Anthony Gonzales, Jr. is also excited to see the brothers on the field.
“They are an athletic family,” Gonzales said. “Every coach would dream about having them in their program. They work extremely hard in their sport.”
Gonzales was able to have two of the three boys on varsity last season, albeit a short season that it was with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dylan was behind the plate for his fourth year and Jake cracked the starting lineup in the outfield. Owen will now arrive and take his talents to the diamond and see where he winds up next spring.
“They are well-respected by their teammates,” Gonzales said. “It’s very cool that they are here at La Serna at the same time. It’s so enjoyable to have them in the program.”
Gonzales sometimes had all four of the brothers on his baseball field. Four! Yes, there is another Long waiting in the wings. He is sixth grader Grady.
“Whenever Dylan comes up for extra work, all of his brothers are usually there,” Gonzales added. “I got to play high school and college ball with my brother Andy.”
The Gonzales brothers went to Cal High and then on to Cal Poly Pomona to play baseball.
“I saw the same with them.”
The lineup card looked the same most of the season when it came to Dylan and Jake: D. Long, catcher, followed by J. Long, left field. Most of the time in the shortened season, it was either second and third in the order or third and fourth.
“Just like baseball, it’ll be fun,” Jake said. “(Dylan) will give me tips on both sports and being a big brother.”
Jake made varsity because of his hitting early on. “We had to find a spot for him,” Gonzales said. “We put him in left and he took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. That kid can flat out hit.”
On not being able to play quarterback yet, Dylan is beside himself. “That’s all I think about,” Dylan said. “Not only waiting behind Andrew (Henriquez) and finally being able to play (quarterback) this year is a waiting game. For me to succeed him, it will absolutely happen soon.”
As for Owen, Dylan can’t wait. “Owen is a freshman this year and I’m excited to watch him play.”
Dylan, like his brothers, has been going week to week throwing the football and he keeps working out.
With the football season being pushed back to January and possibly ending at the beginning of baseball season, there will be quick transitions for all three boys.
“When the time comes, I’ll be juggling both sports,” Dylan said. “If we make that deep playoff run like last year, we won’t have that (preseason baseball) this year.”
The boys’ parents, Larry and Gina, have an athletic family and the moment in high school with the three of them together is close.
“This is the moment that I’d live for, having all three together,” said Larry, who is in law enforcement. “For me, it’s unbelievable. We’ve been talking about it since they were little. For my wife and I, it’s special.”
The youngest of the three of them in high school this year, Owen, praised his parents for what they have sacrificed.
“They are awesome,” Owen said. “There are five of us. Mom and dad work hard for us and give us opportunities in life.”
Larry Long is very proud of Dylan, who has been practically raising his siblings while they were at work.
“That’s what I love about Dylan is being there,” Larry said. “Words can’t tell you how important it is.”
On Jake, Larry said: “Jake did his thing in football when he was brought up (last season) and in baseball he was hitting from the start.
As for Owen: “He is a little more athletic and has very good instincts and he’ll surprise some people.”
Owen, a pitcher and outfielder, has a goal in baseball. “My goal, even if it sounds unreal, is to play with my brothers on the same team. That’s been my driving force.”
As for football, unlike his older brothers who are both quarterbacks, Owen said – “I love the sound and feeling of contact.”
Jake on Owen coming in as a freshman – “Having just one brother is really cool. But with my younger brother is also cool.”
Jake also made it clear on their practice regime, whether it is football or baseball. “We’re always working out on our own. We always work out as brothers. Everyday we’re doing something different, always doing something different.”
Jake wondered what it would be like when they actually start in football.
“It’s hard knowing that we could be in season right now,” Jake said. “It’s going to be crazy on when we start. We’re going to be playing in cold weather.”
Note: There is one last Long sibling…but no, not another boy. It’s little Samantha, better known as Sam.
More of what they said about the Long brothers:
Anthony Gonzales, Jr: “I see him (Dylan) playing this game for a long time. He’s such an exceptional athlete.
“Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, I can’t say enough about him. He’s like another coach on the field. As a freshman and sophomore, the older guys gravitated toward him.”
Andy George: “If anyone can handle it (the waiting to play) is Dylan Long. He’s going to come out of it with flying colors.
“Jake plays quarterback and is also our place kicker. It’s a great situation. He looks up to his brother. They pull for each other. Owens got a bright future and he’s a tremendous athlete.”
Larry Long: “I always wanted to have a picture of the three of them in high school. I’d come home from work and we’d go hit and on the weekends we would throw the football. Now Dylan has done everything and now is his time.”