Brotherly love on and off the field: Twins lead DelVal's defense

Matt Leon
November 15, 2018 - 6:00 am
Michael (left) and Anthony Nobile

Matt Leon/KYW Newsradio

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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — The Delaware Valley University football team is headed to the playoffs.

The 9-1 Aggies are the champions of the Middle Atlantic Conference, and they will host Muhlenberg in the first round on Saturday in Doylestown.

There are a lot of reasons why DelVal is still playing, including a defense that allows just 13 points a game and has pitched shutouts the last two weeks against King's and Widener.

That defense has a lot of special players, but right at the top of that list are a pair of identical twins who have created all kinds of havoc along the defensive line.

Michael and Anthony Nobile, freshmen who hail from New Jersey, actually began their college football journeys at Temple.

The Brick Memorial High School grads said it didn't work out with the Owls, so they landed in Doylestown — and head coach Duke Greco is very happy they did.

"They pin their ears back and go," he said. "They've changed games."

Michael — the oldest twin by two minutes — leads the Aggies, and he is second in the country with 31 tackles for loss. His team high, 13.5 sacks, are good for a tie for fourth in the country. 

Anthony is second on the team in both those categories, clocking in with 15.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. This past week, Michael was named the Middle Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as well as the conference's Rookie of the Year. 

Football has been a part of the Nobile brothers' lives for a long time. Michael said it was very apparent to pair were twins on the field early on in their careers.

"When we first started playing football, we would always do the same moves, unintentionally," Michael recalled. "He would do a move and then I would do it the same away among the defensive line."

Playing together has always been the plan for the duo.

"We've always wanted to, every since we were little kids starting to play football," Michael added. "My family always had that dream of one day seeing us both at the same university. 

"(Anthony) left Temple before me. I was at Temple for an extra semester — I didn't like it. I didn't like playing without him. I didn't like being without him. He was actually the first one to commit here (at DelVal) with my buddy (linebacker Billy) Walsh. Once he made the decision to come here, then I took the visit and eventually made my decision. But I never like playing without him. I never like being without him, honestly."

And since they are inseparable on the field, telling them apart can be difficult.

"The way I always tell them apart now is Anthony always has a hat on," said DelVal co-defensive coordinator Nick Brady, who recruited the twins. "So for me, early on, it was, 'OK, there's Ant, because he has the hat on.' Once they got comfortable though, and getting to know them, there are definitely some differences, where Anthony's a little bit more outspoken. But at first it was definitely pretty tough."

Greco said identification also continues to be a bit of a work in progress for him.

"For me it's difficult, but on the field it's easy because they have jerseys on," he said. "So you know the numbers — you know seven (Michael), nine (Anthony), you know what's going on. But in the locker room, walking through campus, saying hello — to me, that's the time when it takes a minute or two."

But he's getting better, he admitted. "Anthony's like me: He doesn't shave as much, so that makes it easier."

Coaches aren't the only ones that struggle to tell the two apart, as Anthony said he is constantly mistaken for his brother, and vice versa.

"Honestly, it happens every day," Anthony said. "After awhile, it doesn't get annoying, but I expect it. I just wave and brush it off like I'm Michael. It's not a big deal."

"Every day, my teachers, my classmates, just regular students on campus," echoed Michael. "Every day it happens. Not a day goes by."

But the occasional person thinking you are your twin is a small price to pay to be able to play with your brother and share an incredible experience.

"It's awesome," Michael said of playing together. "I've always dreamed about playing college football. Being on the same field with my brother, my best friend, and having my family come up to Doylestown every weekend watching us play together, it's all I could ever ask for."

The Nobile twins and the rest of the Aggies will host Muhlenberg Saturday at 1 p.m.