Brotherly love for the Patriots

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In sports, teams often strive to build a family mentality, with players becoming a band of brothers throughout the course of the season in a figurative sense.

However, for Pike Liberal Arts players Justin and Nick McLaughlin, the brotherly connection is a literal one.

Justin, who is a senior offensive and defensive lineman, and Nick who is a sophomore running back and defensive back have been playing as both brothers and teammates for the past two seasons.

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As it turns out, for these two brothers, this is easier said then done.

“It’s fun, but sometimes it can be kind of weird,” Justin said about playing with his younger brother.

“I will look back and see Nick and then the next thing I know, I am blocking for him.

“Even if I do a good job for him, he never says thanks,” the senior said with a laugh.

While the two may not always acknowledge each other’s good works on the field, their head coach, Steven Kilcrease, believes having the two on the same team is nothing but a benefit for each other and their teammates.

“Those two give each other a hard time,” Kilcrease said. “But I think they both make each other better.”

The coach said that if one of the brothers makes a bad play, he would let the other go and talk to him, rather than talk himself.

“They are both perfectionist. If one does something wrong, the other will take care of it – but it can be pretty intense sometimes and that’s when I step in.

“You don’t want to mess with either of them, they both stand up for one another,” Kilcrease said.

For the second straight season, the brothers find themselves in a familiar position – chasing a championship.

“I am enjoying every bit of this season,” Justin said. “To have the opportunity to win a state championship in my last two seasons would be amazing.”

Nick has the same opportunity, just reversed.

“It would definitely mean a lot to be able to win back-to-back state championships in my first two seasons on the team,” the sophomore said.

And of course, both said winning a championship with each other on the team meant a lot as well.

Though the two brothers may be hard on each other while on the field, it’s quite a different story off the field.

Whether hanging out with the same group of friends or enjoying time with one another, the two said they are pretty close brothers at home.

“We definitely get along when we are not playing football,” Nick said. “We like a lot of the same things, it really is a different story when we are not on the field,” he said with a smile.