It wasn’t a typical Sachem football game for the Falco family Friday night.
Sachem head coach Dave Falco coached against his nephew James Conklin as his Flaming Arrows battled Patchogue-Medford in the Suffolk County Division I quarterfinals.
Conklin, a freshman receiver on the Raiders, is the son of Falco’s sister Lisa, a Sachem alum and an elementary teacher in the school district.
Adding more intrigue to the story, Conklin has a twin brother, Justin, who moonlights as one of Sachem’s water boys, but serves as the freshman class vice president for his native Patchogue-Medford by day.
“I didn’t think I’d be playing on varsity at this age,” said James, who saw considerable action on special teams in his team's 35-7 loss. “Last year I came to all the games and didn’t think I’d be here like this tonight.”
Conklin wears No. 82, a tribute to Falco, who wore that number for four years at Cortland as a receiver. Falco wore the reverse No. 28 at Sachem in the 1980s.
“I look up to him and try to play how he would want me to,” Conklin said.
Grandma and Grandpa Falco – Tony and Margaret – sat in the stands as they always do, proud as ever. Margaret wore a split designed shirt with red and gold colors to honor both football personalities in the family.
As for Justin, - better known as Ace around the Sachem football program - he roamed the sidelines Friday with pride for his brother and uncle.
“I love both teams,” he said. “They both have amazing players. I just wanted it to come down to a good game. There was a lot of smack talk at school with my friends. My loyalty is here, but my pride is in Patchogue.”
Since Conklin is only a freshman and Patchogue is on the rise in Division I with young talent, the Sachem-Patchogue rivalry could be heating up again real soon.
“He really looks like a great athlete and I think he’ll have a bright future in Patchogue,” Falco said. “I’m sad he had to lose and end his season, but he’s a kid who works hard. He’s a great kid and I’m very proud to be his uncle. I think he could be somebody I have to watch out for.”