High School Football

These twin brothers played football at Palmetto High. They’ll play together in college, too

During a fall practice, Anthony and Derek Marino — twin brothers on Palmetto High’s football team — tried playing a prank during a scrimmage.

They were going to swap jerseys and see if any teammates or coaches would figure it out. It’s one of the oldest tricks twins like to play, but their father, head coach Dave Marino, didn’t go for it.

“We tried to do it on the practice field before, but they caught us,” Anthony said. “All of the other coaches were on board, except the big man. Dad, I don’t think he was on board with it.”

Anthony’s leadership and Derek’s lighthearted joking nature will be taking their act to the next level together.

On Wednesday’s National Signing Day, the two brothers who played Pop Warner football and high school football together are signing with Saint Anselm College, a Division II program in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“These things don’t just happen. It’s a very unique situation,” Dave Marino said. “When my wife first asked me, ‘Hey, you’ve got to get them scholarships and you’ve got to (get them to) the same school.’ I told her she was nuts.

“I was like, ‘Hon, do you know how hard it is to get a football scholarship? And then do you know how hard it is for that school to have a need at both of their positions, and then them be good enough to be picked? You’re asking for a lot.’ ”

Derek and Anthony Marino will be signing to St. Anselm, located in New Hampshire, on Wednesday. Coach Dave Marino, their father, will be there. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Anthony and Derek do it in the classroom and on the field to make it possible. Narrowing it to the same college, though, wasn’t always in play.

“Freshman year, I’d say 90 percent of twins are saying I want to go to a different school,” Anthony said.

When Jack Allison, a former Under Armour All-American and University of Miami quarterback who started West Virginia’s bowl game this season, graduated from Palmetto, the Tigers were in a bind.

There wasn’t a quarterback available, so Dave Marino converted wide receiver Jason Spicer Jr. into the role for his junior season out of a team need.

Anthony, who had never previously played quarterback, suddenly became groomed for the role his last two years at Palmetto by quarterbacks coach Ty Stoldt.

Derek and Anthony Marino will be signing to St. Anselm, located in New Hampshire, on Wednesday. Coach Dave Marino, their father, will be there. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

That team need reared its head again before the Marino’s final season with Derek getting moved from wide receiver to safety.

He instantly loved the position.

“You just have to read and react,” Derek said. “You don’t have to worry about anything. Just go around and hit people.”

Derek even intercepted one of Anthony’s passes in practice this past season.

“He was a little mad,” Derek said. “But the defense was going crazy.”

Now the twin brothers are going to the same college, making it official with their letters of intent Wednesday morning at the school’s signing ceremony.

Anthony chose Saint Anselm for the community-feel he got when he recently visited, while Derek loves snow and gleaned the good stuff about the program from Anthony as he’s yet to visit himself.

But playing together means the two separated by 30 minutes at birth — Anthony is the older twin — get the chance to have their parents visit during the season.

Dave Marino said his wife has already scouted flights, so he’ll coach the Tigers on Friday night and get a flight early Saturday on occasion in the fall to make for a hectic schedule.

But it will be worth it.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.