GARDINER — From flag football on, through youth football and into high school, Cam and Sean Michaud had a feeling. The time would come when they would be the ones leading the Gardiner varsity offense, with Sean at quarterback and Cam as the top rusher behind him.

“We didn’t really talk about it,” Cam Michaud said. “But we kind of knew.”

That time has come this fall. The Michaud brothers run the show for the Tigers, on both sides of the ball. On offense, Sean has taken over as the starting quarterback in his junior year, with Cam, a senior, leading a balanced backfield behind him. On defense, the roles are reversed; Cam calls the signals at middle linebacker for Gardiner’s stingy defense, while Sean took over the starting free safety spot.

 

Both players fill roles with an emphasis on reading the game and keeping the team organized, and coach Joe White said they’ve proven themselves to be ideal fits for the job.

“Those two boys are very much one in the same. Fiercely competitive, totally resilient, love a challenge, and they try to go out there and play as hard as they can every single day,” he said. “You can count on those two guys to make sure that everyone else is ready to go on both sides of the ball.”

They’ve taken different routes to this point. Cam has been taking carries and calling signals since his junior season, while Sean was hurt his freshman year and didn’t start on either side of the ball until this season. They’re both starting now, however — not that a pair of Michauds leading the Tigers has had much of an effect on the two siblings.

“I guess it’s a big deal to our mom and our uncles and stuff like that, all our family members, they make a big deal about it,” Sean said. “But we’re both quiet kids, we don’t really make a big deal about it. We know what we’ve got to do, and we both have the same goal in mind.”

“I don’t really think about it too much on the field,” said Cam, who also has a cousin as a backfield partner in Nate Malinowski. “But in retrospect, it’s pretty cool.”

Gardiner quarterback Sean Michaud, center, hands the ball of to running back Cameron Michaud, his brother, during practice Wednesday in Gardiner. Photo by Jennifer Bechard

White said he sees that same low-key demeanor on the field, both in practice and in games.

“Neither one is a rah-rah type,” he said. “You’re not going to get a whole lot out of them verbally, it’s more performance-based. They try to lead by example, so they’re not going to be the ones necessarily celebrating after a big gain or a touchdown or an interception.

“They don’t talk during practice … and they pretty much keep to themselves, even between themselves. Between the two of them, barely a word is spoken.”

While they may not speak often, however, they’re constantly listening and learning. White said he saw that in the C South semifinals last year, when Sean, who missed his freshman season with a shoulder injury and took hardly any snaps last year, nevertheless replaced an injured Cole Heaberlin against Leavitt and helped guide the Tigers to an upset win over the top-seeded Hornets.

Given the keys to the offense this season, Sean quickly showed he was ready for the job.

“Sean is the kind of kid that you want at quarterback,” White said. “He’s the type of kid that is able to come back to me and relay things that are going to work.”

Michaud, who threw for 53 yards and ran for a score in a season-opening win over Morse, said the transition has been smooth.

“I think it’s more of a mental thing. … It’s making sure everyone’s in check,” he said. “It’s pretty easy when I’ve got Cam, Nate and Garrett (Maheux) in the backfield to do a lot of the work for me.”

Cam thrived in his new role against Morse, rushing for 148 yards and two scores, while continuing his job as the brains of the Gardiner defense at middle linebacker, a position he got acclimated to last season.

“I’m definitely not the most shifty guy on this team,” he said. “I’m looking to put the shoulder down.”

That physical approach carries over onto the defensive side of the ball as well.

“He’s got incredible mental toughness, and he’s not fazed by a whole lot,” White said. “I watched him hit somebody last year in the MCI exhibition game and his helmet came off, and he still executed that tackle full tilt. It was just incredible.

“He’s always been the guy that we can count on to step in there and do that, on both sides of the ball.”

The Michauds let their play do the talking, but they’re not robots either. White said Sean will sometimes speak up and correct him on play calls during practice, and the Tigers coach got a glimpse of Cam’s personality during the win over Morse.

“I gave him the ball on the goal line about seven times, he comes back to me at one point and said ‘Hey, you think we could run something else?’ ” White said. “There’s a very dry sense of humor there.”

And an acknowledgment that playing both behind and in front of a brother will be pretty unique after all.

“It’s fun, something that I knew was going to happen for the past couple of years,” Cam said. “I was looking forward to it, and I’m glad that it’s here.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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