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A family bond

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / October 28, 1998

LAPLACE – When St. Charles Catholic fans watch quarterback Nick Monicahand off to running back Wayne Stein on any given Friday night during the prep football season, what many do not realize is how many times those two players have done that play over the years.

Monica and Stein have been practicing that play long before either one of them played a down for the Comets at Thomas Dupuy Stadium. The twocousins would get together with other family members at family gatherings and invariably a game would break out.

“No matter where we were whenever the family got together every holiday,” Stein said. “None of us kids liked to lose. It was instill in uswhen we were young.”Both Stein and Monica said the games have been going on for as long as they can remember. They and their other cousins would sneak away andfind a way to play, whether it be baseball, football or basketball.

“Whether it rained or not, we played,” Stein said. “That was something wenever lacked, someone always brought a ball.”Monica recalled the time Stein cut his knee open and needed 36 stitches to close the wound.

“But the important thing is I scored and we won the game,” Stein said, smiling.

That kind of competitiveness fueled the players who would play five or six games whenever the families met.

“The last game would be important,” Stein said. “You did not want to leavea loser.”Both Stein, who is from Garyville, and Monica, who is from LaPlace, agreed that playing together for so long can have a benefit to the team. The twowatch films of the opposing teams on Sunday and relay that information back to the team.

“We complement each other,” Monica said. “We know how each other reactto different things. I know where he is going to be at certain times.”Stein agreed, saying that the two are always telling each other things to keep them going.

“We are always going to do something for each other to be successful,” Stein said. “Nick can pull a fake to get me open and I can make a block forhim to throw. I tell him to look for me and I will come back to the ball likewe did when we were young.”Nick’s brother, Ty, was the Comets’ starting quarterback last year and was also competed in the family games. Ty Monica is at LSU now but Steinand Nick Monica said he still calls every Thursday night to talk about the upcoming game and opponent.

Stein said he feels very fortunate getting to play in the same backfield with two of his family members.

“I am living a dream right now,” Stein said. “Getting a chance to play inthe same backfield, I feel lucky.”Stein’s and Monica’s days of playing in the Comet backfield are winding down. Stein is a senior while Monica has one more year remaining.”I don’t know,” Monica said what it will feel like playing next year without his cousin in the backfield. “It is going to be kind of lonely. It ismostly seniors I am close to this year. It is going to be like starting allover again.”Stein said he hopes he will have the opportunity to come back next year and watch the Comets play.

“I am going to try to pursue my dream of playing at the next level,” Stein said. “Hopefully, I can come back and watch my cousin play. I will put aword in for him with my coaches and hopefully we can play together again.”As for the games with the families, they have been put on hold until after the football season is over.

“We don’t want to have to explain to coach (Wayde) Keiser that one of us turned an ankle tackling the other at Thanksgiving.”

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