When the Democrat got a hold of All-State wide receiver Bailey Jelinek of Warsaw, he was just finishing up a family dinner. The last Warsaw football player to receive All-State honors was there too, Bailey’s older brother Brad.
“I thought it was a good achievement because knowing that my brother got all state I wanted to get it and know that I did as good as my brother,” Bailey said.
One year after Brad Jelinek set the Warsaw school records with 869 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, Bailey broke both marks, recording 975 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
“When I first started to get 100 yards in a game and I started to get up there I thought I could beat by brother’s record and since we were a better team we would get more games,” Bailey said.
He did get one more game, and he needed it. After 10 games, Bailey had 869 receiving yards. Brad’s final total for the 2012 season: 869. Bailey and the 2013 Wildcats team beat Diamond in the first round of the district playoffs to earn an 11th game against Lamar at Pittsburg State. The 2012 team with Brad lost to Butler week 10. Given the extra game, Bailey recorded 106 yards and a touchdown.
“If anybody would have done it, I was happy it was him,” Brad said. “I played in fifth grade and I never played again until high school. I never expected anything out of it, I just played. It’s pretty cool to have our names on the record board.”
“Every time I get the ball, I try to score,” Bailey said. “I don’t try to go down easily. That helped me with my yards.”
Bailey mixed in short and deep routes, often calling his own route at the line of scrimmage.
“We had hand signals that told each other what route I was running,” he said. “My coach let me call my own routes. He would leave it up to me and how they were playing me. That was just me seeing what route was best to run and if (the cornerback) was close to me if I could beat him on a deep route.”
Brad had a chance to see his brother play several times this fall, driving to Warsaw after baseball practices at the University of Central Missouri to see all the Wildcats’ home games.
“I thought he dominated for the most part,” Brad said. “He’s been doing it his whole life. If he didn’t have baseball, I think he could go anywhere to play college football. He has a lot of advantages being 6-3 and having super long arms and legs.”
Brad got to see Bailey’s skill up close when they were growing up during games in the front yard.
“Our dad would throw the football to us and we would play on a short 15-20 yard field,” Brad said. “Our whole lives it would be super competitive.”
Brad said at first he had the upper hand in those games in the yard, but soon Bailey started growing taller and gained the edge. No matter who had the advantage, it was always a hard-fought game.
“When we both lived up in the city we’d play two hand touch,” Bailey said. “But we’d get frustrated and tackle because it got so competitive.”
The junior was in his first year with the Warsaw football team after moving into the district last winter. Even with Brad older than him, Bailey has more experience playing football. He started playing in third grade and has been at it ever since while Brad played briefly in elementary school then took a break until returning to the game as a high school senior last year.
Even though Brad only wore the Wildcat uniform for one season, he established a reputation that Bailey would follow.
“Everyone was questioning me (when practice began) if I would be as good as my brother,” Bailey said. “I don’t want my brother to be better than me.”
The two were able to play baseball alongside each other last spring, Bailey at second base, Brad earning All-State honors at shortstop.
“Getting to play with my brother, turning a double play, it was kind of cool,” Bailey said.
Bailey is also playing basketball at Warsaw this winter, another sport where Brad made his mark.