Brothers playing together happens all day, every day.
Brothers playing against one another in a high school football game, doesn’t.
But it will on Friday night, when Austin Pauley (Perry), Brad Pauley (Hamilton) and a whole bunch of family from Ohio, Florida and New York converge to partake in this week’s regular season finale.
Both Pauleys went to San Tan “feeder” schools, and the family lived in Basha’s boundaries at the time (now they’re halfway between Hamilton and Perry). Austin (a senior) open-enrolled at Perry where he could concentrate on being a two-sport athlete in football and basketball. A year later, Brad (a junior) wanted to attend Hamilton where several of his friends were headed, and, complete with matrix charts and diagrams, he presented a compelling enough case the Pauley parents eventually relented.
“He’d make a good lawyer someday,” Bill Pauley said of Brad.
Actually, Brad’s trying to put his 4.7 grade point average to good use at Stanford, California-Berkeley or Arizona State for nuclear engineering. At 6-foot-5, 285-pounds, Austin is a three-year starter with Mountain West colleges showing interest (San Jose State, New Mexico State, San Diego State, Ohio University). But Brad wasn’t moved up to Hamilton varsity until last year’s playoffs (good timing), so the brothers hadn’t played each other at the highest level; nor was this ever a consideration when they began high school since Perry was a Division II school and “sections” didn’t exist.
With family flying in from all corners of the country later this week, be on the lookout for “House Divided” T-shirts with names and helmets, and a pregame tailgate in the Perry parking lot.
Since it’s Senior Night, they’ll start on the Perry side for at least the first half and ad-lib the rest, possibly including one blocking the other on the line of scrimmage.
“We’re hoping they do,” Bill Pauley said. “They both want to. We’re not sure how that’s going to play out.
“We’re rooting for the Hamilton Pumas. Or the Perry Huskies.”
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or (480) 898-6576.