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In an alternate universe, Baker Pritchard might have become a Ute.
Iona Pritchard is hoping for the fifth time to finally beat them.
The brothers transferred from BYU to Oregon State in the offseason Baker because he felt the 4-3 defensive scheme at OSU better suited his abilities, and Iona because he wanted to spend his final year of eligibility playing alongside his brother.
Now, like Fresno State running back Josh Quezada in Week Two, the Bingham High products get an extra shot at their old rival.
Iona said he's been asked in Corvallis if the rivalry was a big deal to him.
Was? It still is, he said.
"Hate is a strong word, but I've just grown to strongly dislike the Utes the color, everything. The boys up north, that's like your arch nemesis, and I was never able to beat them at BYU."
As a fifth-year senior whose lofty expectations were shot by major knee and ankle injuries after he returned from an LDS mission to the Marshall Islands, Iona is now listed as a 6-foot, 255-pound tight end and contributes primarily on special teams and in scout team work.
"He just wanted to play one more year of football, so I think we're lucky to have him," Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said earlier this week.
Iona's "little" brother "I can't even call Baker my little brother because he's almost 4 inches taller than me," he jokes seems to have a brighter future between the lines.
The hulking defensive end has only positive things to say about head coach Bronco Mendenhall, defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi and his time at BYU. But after redshirting in 2011 and serving a two-year LDS mission in Hawaii, he realized that Provo wasn't an ideal fit for him on the field.
Thus, he sent out release papers to Oregon State, Utah State and Utah the first school to offer him as a sophomore in high school, where childhood friend Viliseni Fauonuku plays and where cousin Sealver Siliga got his start.
He had chosen BYU as a prep simply because, "My brother had gone there and I wanted to play with my brother."
But the first to get back to him after his mission was OSU defensive line coach Joe Seumalo, and Baker appreciated the Beaver coaches for their interest and their honesty.
Once Baker committed, Iona signed up for 26 credits in spring semester so he could graduate with a degree in philosophy and follow suit, he said.
"It was definitely the craziest semester in my life. We're used to waking up and lifting weights. I was waking up and reading books."
Iona was recently married and soon hopes to start a new family, and adding to his feeling that he should spend one more season with his brother was a dark day for the Pritchards, on Dec. 3, 2011, when they lost adopted brother Talai Livai to a car accident.
"When that happened, it was something that hit home with us and brought us all a little closer," Iona said. "You never know when things are going to happen, and you always take people for granted."
So the Pritchard brothers are united again, in a place and in a cause.
Which is, this week, to take down the Utes.
Utah at Oregon St.
O Thursday, 8 p.m.
TV » Fox Sports 2, KMYU Radio • 700 AM
Meet the Pritchards
Iona • A member of Bingham's 2006 5A championship team, played in all 13 games for BYU in 2008 at linebacker, tailback and on special teams as a true freshman. After returning from an LDS mission to the Marshall Islands, suffered a season-ending leg and ankle injury in 2011 and played sparingly as a fullback in 2012 and 2013. The Eagle Scout earned a degree in philosophy and married the former Su'e Tervola.
Baker • A member of Bingham's 2009 and 2010 5A championship teams, redshirted in 2011 and went on an LDS mission to Hawaii before deciding to transfer to Oregon State. Is listed at 6-foot-3, 265, but is pushing 300 pounds according to his brother, Iona.