Family on the field–and off

Lafayette offensive line bolstered by two brothers

Last weekend, the bonds of familial relationships were at an all time high around campus. For one pair of football players, the Princeton game added a whole new dimension to Family Weekend.

Senior lineman Nick Zataveski was making his season debut after being sidelined with an injury for the first two games. When he lined up for the first play on Saturday, however, he was not the only Zataveski on the offensive line. Nick’s brother Kevin, a freshman who has been in the starting lineup all season, was now by his brother’s side helping to protect the quarterback.

This was a special moment for the two, as they have never played together on the same team in their football careers.

“As a freshman in high school, I never got to play on the same team as [Nick],” Kevin said. “We got to practice a few times together but we never actually got to play a game with each other.”

A dream was realized on Saturday, when both were given the opportunity to start on the offensive line together. Nick, when questioned about what he thought about playing with his younger brother, had a typical older-sibling response.

“It was kind of frustrating at times because he’s a freshman and doesn’t know what he’s doing most of the time,” Nick said, jokingly. “Overall though, it was kind of weird, but a great experience.”

Although Nick being at Lafayette for the last four years didn’t necessarily make Kevin’s college decision as clear cut as it may seem, it surely played a large role in his commitment to Lafayette.

“I always wanted to play with my brother, but that wasn’t the reason I came here,” Kevin said. “For the past four years I’ve spent a lot of time at Lafayette and I knew the football players and coaches. I don’t want to sound too cliché or anything, but whenever I went anywhere else it didn’t feel like home.”

Nick was equally as excited when he learned about Kevin’s college decision.

“He was my best friend growing up and it was cool to have my brother come to the same school as me,” Nick said.

Nick is now entering his second season starting on the offensive line after missing his sophomore year due to a hip injury. A preseason pick to the All-Patriot League team, Nick has become a staple on the line for the Leopards, garnering the role of leader at his position. As seen by his various accolades, Nick knows when to be serious and draw the line on the field.

“I don’t really care who it is,” Nick said. “If they screw up, I’m going to yell at them regardless.”

That even includes his own brother Kevin who, although may want to fight back sometimes, realizes that he must respect him as a teammate.

“That’s the tough part. When I’m at home I fight back all the time,” Kevin said. “But when you’re on the field you have to respect him as your senior leader.”

That respect will be challenged on the field against Wagner this upcoming where the Leopards look to break into the win column.

Leave a Reply

*