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Rivalry goes back long way for Toreros twins
The competitiveness between Sam and Nick Scudellari began at birth, when Nick made the mistake of being born three hours after his twin brother.
“It’s clear my mom loves me more simply because I came out three hours earlier,” said Sam. “Obviously, I’m the loved one.
Says Nick: “I was pretty comfortable where I was. I wasn’t in a hurry to get out.”
Back and forth it has gone ever since.
The two are teammates now on the USD football team — Nick a 6-foot, 225-pound fullback and Sam a 6-4, 220-pound wide receiver — where the talk was as spirited as ever in last week’s 42-0 win over Davidson.
Nick had a 21-yard touchdown catch out of the backfield in the first quarter for the Toreros’ first score.
“He let me know about it right after he caught that pass,” said Sam. “First thing out of his mouth was, ‘I just scored a touchdown. I don’t know what you’re doing with your day. You might want to step up your game.’
“I knew it was go time after that. I had to get in the end zone to have any say at dinner that night.”
Sam caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, giving both brothers their first TD receptions of the season. Sam would finish the day with four catches. Nick just had the one.
“So he passes me up and hangs it in my face,” said Nick.
The competition resumes in Saturday’s Pioneer Football League game at Valparaiso (0-4, 0-1 PFL), where USD (4-1, 2-0) hopes to stretch its winning streak to three games.
The Scudellaris say the rivalry isn’t as heated now as when they were growing up.
“We would go out in the back yard and make up games just so we could compete with each other,” said Sam. “We played one-on-one football. To this day I don’t know how that went down, but somehow we made it work.
“We played this game in the pool where you had to jump off the diving board and catch the ball. We would throw each other the ball, but it got to a point where we’d throw these ridiculous (uncatchable) passes because we didn’t want the other one to win.
“There was a tree out back of our house and one day I saw him climbing that tree. I saw him getting toward the top and knew there was no way he was getting to the top without me. I remember racing out there and trying to get to the top with him. You never want to be the one left behind.”
The competition didn’t end when the sun went down.
“My dad when we were young told us to do pushups,” said Nick. “We used to do it every night before we went to bed. I’d do 50, then Sam would do 50. And because he did 50, I’d sneak out of bed later and do 20 more. Then he would sneak back out and do 20.”
And on and on it would go, from the field and into the classroom. The juniors from Saratoga are both accounting majors at USD. Nick casually points out his superior GPA: “Mine’s a 3.6 or 3.7, somewhere around there. His is like a 3.5.”
Where they have matured is when it comes to supporting each other. Both players have had position changes since arriving at USD. Nick moved from linebacker to fullback and Sam from quarterback to receiver. The transition was most difficult for Sam.
“I’d by lying if I said it was easy,” said Sam, who was the Toreros’ starting quarterback at the beginning of the 2010 season before losing the position to current starter Mason Mills. “We’ve been playing football since we were in 5th grade. Aside from my first year, when I was a running back, I’ve been a quarterback every year. So it was hard. . . .
“Sometimes things just don’t work out. It took me awhile to understand. But the coaches had a better plan in mind and it ended up working out.”
Said Nick: “I’m always trying to pop his balloon, but this was a time where I’m glad I was there for him. He had a great attitude about it. He went about it very professionally. . . .
“It’s just awesome to have your best friend with you. We didn’t know we were going to go to college together, let alone play football together in college. Just to have someone you love and you trust close by you is really great.”
Sam agrees that the pair are “more supportive of one another now. We rely more on one another rather than competing with each other.”
Good thing. Who knows what would have happened if things continued to escalate. Sam still has a scar from the time when they were 4 or 5 years old and Nick used his head for a golf ball.
Said Nick: “I was just swinging a golf club and thought, ‘Let’s see what happens if I hit him over the head with it.’ “
So it was an experiment?
“I don’t know if that was competing or him exerting his dominance over me,” said Sam.
Now that they’ve matured, Nick would at least have the courtesy to yell “Fore.”