After spending the majority of high school playing on the same football team as his brother, Nick Anastasio wanted a change of pace.
So when both Penn and Brown recruited him heavily in his senior year, Anastasio decided against joining his older brother Joe on the Quakers, and cleared a path for himself instead.
"I played with Joe all through high school and since we were little," Nick said. "It was a hard decision because it would have been a great experience to play with him in college, but ultimately, Brown felt like the right fit for me and I kind of wanted to do my own thing for once."
And the sophomore has done just that since joining the Bears', chipping in on special teams and in Brown's secondary.
With a little advice from Joe and their father (who played football in the Patriot League at Lehigh), Nick was thoroughly prepared to take on college football and the rigors of Ivy League academics.
"I told him time management is the most important thing," Joe said. "I just told him to apply the same work ethic that he did on the field to off the field too."
But the transition out of Camp Hill High School in Camp Hill, Pa. was far from an easy one.
Nick spent his freshman year picking up game time on the junior varsity team before he was deemed ready to travel with the varsity squad and help out on the punt and kick off teams this year.
Brown's game against the Quakers last year marked the first time that Nick and Joe found themselves on opposite sides of the field after always being teammates.
And Nick certainly didn't mind seeing Brown emerge victorious over his brother's team after a battle that spilled into overtime.
"There's obviously some bragging rights at stake so I was happy last year when we pulled off an overtime win against Penn," Nick said. "This is the last time we'll play against each other so this is for everything."
That makes the game a must-win for Joe, for more reasons than just finishing well in the Ivy League his senior year. He's certainly done his part to ensure that so far - as one of only two linebackers in Penn's defense, he has a lot of reponsibility.
"I definitely heard all this last year about how his team won," Joe said.
"I'm really hoping we get a win here or I'm going to hear for the rest of my life how I went 0-2 against his team," he added, "so we need to pull this one out."
With Nick on the punt return team for Brown this year, the brothers will be on the same field for the first time since they were teammates in high school.
Joe and Nick's parents will be in attendance for the face-off, and with both brothers hungry for a win, only one question remains.
Where will Mom and Dad sit?
"It'll be a special thing for my parents especially," Joe said. "I don't know what side they're going to sit on, but they're going to have a tough decision to make."Comments powered by Disqus
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