CALUMET TWP. | When the vehicle left the Griffith Pop Warner fields many years ago, there was one thing on the lips of the father. He told those in the seats one thing.
Over and over and over again.
"Hit hard or walk home," Artie Fowler said.
This auto, by the way, was not a Pinto. A station wagon might not have had enough room for all the Fowler boys who proudly wear the Calumet football jersey.
Nathan was a star before graduating in 2010. Kobe Fowler is a sophomore, Nick Fowler is a junior and Noah Fowler is a senior. Felicia Fowler was the water girl in 2009.
And Artie is an assistant coach.
"It is a family affair," Artie said.
With this much grid-loving testosterone in the home, you know Norman Rockwell wouldn't take his brush there.
"One time I stole one of Noah's toys and we started fighting," Nick said.
"So I threw a spoon and hit him in the head," laughed Kobe.
"I just put a butterfly bandage on it and kept going," Nick said.
Artie, a 1991 Calumet grad and football star, said all three boys have their own personality even though they're much alike, too.
"Kobe is the loudest in the house," Artie said. "You can hear him walking and that's loud, too. Noah is Mr. Personality. He loves being in the middle of everything. Nick is Mr. Quiet Guy. I don't even know when he's in the house half the time."
Calumet coach Ivan Zimmer puts all the Fowlers under one tag.
"They are all tremendous high school football players," Zimmer said.
The Warriors lost a very close game to Gavit in Week 1. They edged Clark 14-12 in Week 2 and outdistanced North Newton 42-35, with Fowler tracks all over the field.
Noah had 223 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. He caught two passes for 21 yards. He picked off one pass and returned it 48 yards. The linebacker also had nine tackles and one forced fumble.
On the season, Nick has 19 tackles, one forced fumble and a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown. Kobe has 19 tackles and 138 yards rushing.
After two one-win seasons in a row, a two-game winning streak heading into tonight's game at River Forest is huge, especially for this program.
The last time Calumet had a winning season was in 2009 (6-4) and Nathan Fowler was the quarterback.
"Everyone at our school told us we sucked last year," Noah said. "I honestly thought we were going to turn it around this year. We all worked hard. Our scout team worked hard. Everyone."
Fighting for the extra yard, blade of grass, football or breath is nothing to these guys. Nothing at all.
"We had six boys in our house," Noah said.
"Sometimes we'd fight over food," Nick said.
"Or taking a bath," Kobe said.
Zimmer said a lot of boys in the home can make them all tougher. It's old school but it's also truth.
"They're good-hearted but tough stuff," Zimmer said. "I've got a tough team. They're fighting each other in each huddle. We are very excited about what we have here.
"We want to see where we can take this."