LA PLATA — Friday night will be a conflicting one for Kirtland Central High School Principal Shawna Becenti.
Becenti has always been a huge supporter of the school's athletic program — during her first eight years as principal she could be found cheering the Broncos' football team on from their sideline most weeks.
But on Friday, when she makes the trip to Farmington for the Scorpions-versus-Broncos game at Hutchison Stadium, her two sons will be suiting up in the green and white as Kirtland's rivals.
Kody Becenti, 17, and Kowyn Becenti, 16, are both starters for Farmington's offense. As the center, Kowyn actually snaps the ball to Kody, who is a senior and is in his second year as the starting quarterback for the Scorps.
It's not the first time the schools have faced off with all three family members involved, as Farmington defeated KC 50-26 last season. Shawna said it's always a joy to watch her sons, who have always been close off the field.
"Kowyn has always been Kody's voice. Kowyn was the talker. He was always the one that said, 'Mom, Kody wants this!' and I'd say 'No, I want to hear from Kody,'" Shawna said. "I've kind of always treated them like twins because they've had such a close relationship. As much as neither of them probably want to admit it, they're probably the No. 1 supporters of one another."
Any kind of sibling rivalry that surfaced when they played in their backyard growing up is absent on the Farmington football field, where Kody said they work well together.
"Kowyn knows the plays really well, and it's good, because we know each other like the back of our hands," Kody said. "Sometimes, I'll ask for advice on the play direction, like, just what way we should run it. Because he knows, because he's down there."
Kody and Kowyn have been playing football since Ladera Del Norte Elementary School introduced the program, when the boys were in third and fourth grade, respectively. Kody also plays baseball and basketball, while, Kowyn wrestles and takes part in track and field.
Shawna and her husband, Kevin Becenti, who also have a 12-year-old daughter, Kailey, embrace the chaos that comes with raising two year-round athletes. There's a tire swing in their La Plata backyard that Kody uses for quarterback target practice. Kowyn takes discus and shot put advice from his father, who competed in the same track and field sports when he was in high school.
Because of her obligations to KCHS, it was much more difficult for Shawna to catch her boys' games a few years back when they were in middle school, as middle school sports start earlier in the day than high school. But now, she said, whenever her job allows it, she's out at any field or floor her boys are playing on.
"I just like to see them be competitors," Shawna said. "In every sport they're in, I like to see them compete. And that's kind of been my goal this year, especially with Kody being a senior, is to not miss a game."
The Becenti vs. Becenti angle isn't the only story line going into Friday's 5A district battle; Greg Jenks, now in his second-year as coach of the Broncos, was an assistant for Farmington before he arrived in Kirtland, so the Becenti boys are familiar with the man who will be coaching their opponents.
"A lot of the students at Farmington still call him "Profe," 'cause he taught Spanish," Kody said. "We still keep in touch and talk when we do seven-on-sevens and stuff like that."
KC finished 5-5 last year under Jenks and is off to a solid 4-2 (0-1 District 1-5A) start this year. Shawna said she's liked what she's seen out of the boys on KC's football program.
"We have a solid group of seniors, and I'm just really proud of the young men that they are," Shawna said ."They're true role models to our school community, and that's what's really important. I love how they just bleed purple, and that's what I also love, is that (Kowyn and Kody) have that same kind of pride in their school."
Farmington just picked up its first win last week and is off to a rocky 1-4-1 (1-0) start to this season, but the Becentis view the district season as a fresh start.
"We're there in every game that we've played in, we've just shot ourselves in the foot," Kody said. "So we just need to get over that little hump, and district season has us with a whole new mindset."
Now in her ninth year as the KCHS principal, Shawna has switched from the Bronco sideline to the Farmington sideline in support of Kody's senior season. As far as her rooting interest for Friday goes, Shawna just said she's just hoping for an exciting and competitive contest.
"I'd like the kids to play with lots of heart, with no injuries, and I just hope the kids play with good sportsmanship," Shawna said. "And at the end of the day, I'm a mom."
She wouldn't go as far as to choose sides, but did say she'll venture back to the Broncos' sideline for this one game, where she'll be wearing both purple and green.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.