The cliché may be that eight is enough.
But for the undefeated and twelfth nationally ranked American River College football team, it’s just right.
In a very rare instance, the Beavers have four sets of brothers all suiting up this year.
They include the larger than life brothers from America Samoa, Leasisefeau “Noe” and Felai “Fish” Tauave. Then you have the quiet brothers from Elk Grove, Clifford and Jovante Redmond, the Orangevale brothers, Scott and Frankie Patalano, who get a chance to bang heads daily in practice and the brothers from Rocklin, Nic and Trevor Cooper, that counter each other like yin and yang.
In his 25 years as a football coach, Beavers Head Coach Jerry Halfich said he has never seen this many brothers all on the same squad.
“We have had some twins, I have had brothers generationally, but not this many on the same team,” Haflich said.
Of the four sets, three of those pairs played at their respected high schools for at least one season together.
Noe and Fish are playing on the same team together for the first—and maybe only—season together.
Growing up in American Samoa, Noe, 23, and Fish, 20, played at different high schools. But after a couple years away from football, Noe joined the Beavers after moving to Sacramento in 2010. While Fish was unhappy at another community college in Southern California, he saw the success his older brother was having and decided to join in on the fun.
“Noe is a huge factor in Fish being here now,” Haflich said.
As a head coach, Halfich is thankful that the brothers are all friends on and off the field, because like any relationship, if there isn’t unity, it can be detrimental to others around.
“I think it is something that can either hurt you or make you really special,” Haflich said. “So far here, it has made us special.”
Take the Cooper brothers. Nic, a gentle giant off the field, sometimes has to play sheriff when his brother is around. Trevor, a fiery competitor, has found himself in shoving matches during practices. And despite Trevor (all 275 pounds) being able to hold his own, Nic will almost be in the mix backing up his brother and find himself in the melee by proxy.
For the Patalano brothers, still living at home and being able to be around each other is great for them as brothers and friends, but for mom and dad, too.
“They love seeing us on same team together,” Scott said.
They played one season together in 2009 during Scott’s senior season, when Frankie was a sophomore. But when Frankie was a freshman at Casa Roble, he was called up to varsity, and one day in practice, Scott recalls the welcoming gift he gave his younger brother.
“He came across the field on a route and I just smacked him to the ground,” Scott said with a smirk on his face. “His chin started to bleed. That was me welcoming him to varsity football.”
Scott and Frankie have yet to have that encounter this season as both battled injuries early on.
For the Redmond brothers, the excitement has been on the field as well as off. Clifford, a returning starter at cornerback for ARC, stood on the sideline as Jovante made his first collegiate tackle in the fourth quarter in the season opener on Sept. 1.
But still being a big brother, Clifford couldn’t help getting in a little verbal jab on his sibling.
“I was kind of surprised,” Clifford said. “I didn’t think he could evolve to the speed, but he has done good.”
Whether the bond of brotherhood is literal or figurative, the brothers are all grateful for this last time to hold on to a bit of their youth.
“It’s the best thing ever that a brother could ask for,” Noe said.