The patriarch of the Patrizi clan will be rooting for the football team in red and black on Saturday.
For both of them, actually.
"Two excellent programs, two excellent coaching staffs," Mario Patrizi Sr. said of the South Jersey Group 2 semifinal clash between Cinnaminson and Haddonfield at Cherry Hill West.
Patrizi Sr., 71, plans to sit in the home stands for the whole game. But that's only because getting around for him isn't as easy as it used to be.
Otherwise, he would splitting time, a half on the Bulldogs' side and a half on the Pirates' side.
Patrizi Sr. and his wife, Carmella, have divided loyalties for the game that will decide one of the South Jersey Group 2 finalists: Their son Mario Patrizi Jr. is the head coach at Cinnaminson, and their grandson Nick is the starting running back at
"Regardless of what happens, it's a proud day for our family and I'm proud of both of them," Patrizi Sr. said.
The matchup has created some good-natured ribbing between Mario Jr. and Nick as well as Nick's father, Mike — Mario's younger brother.
"It's fun," Mario Patrizi Jr. said. "I never thought this would happen. We're enjoying it, having a good time with it."
Nick Patrizi said he often dreamed of playing a game against his uncle Mario's team but never expected it would happen.
"We're really close," Nick Patrizi said of his uncle. "I can't believe it's happening. It's awesome."
The family connection is a unique subplot to a game that seemed unlikely when the playoffs began last weekend.
Haddonfield (6-3) was the No. 6 seed and had lost three in a row. The Bulldogs opened at Sterling, a team that beat them, 37-19, six days earlier.
"I really think the cold weather sparked us," said Nick Patrizi, a senior who ran for two touchdowns in a 17-7 victory over the third-seeded Silver Knights on Friday in 27-degree weather.
On the same night, Cinnaminson (7-2) was the No. 7 seed visiting No. 2 seed Camden, which had won six games in a row, including a 34-20 triumph over Rancocas Valley, the No. 2 seed in South Jersey Group 5.
Junior Rashad Raymond ran for two touchdowns, and senior Kevin Schoch returned a kickoff for a touchdown, as the Pirates stunned the Panthers, 28-12.
"I'm so proud of my brother," Mike Patrizi said of Mario Patrizi Jr. "He's proven himself to be one of the best coaches in South Jersey. I'm always rooting for him. Just not this week."
The game will be played just five days before the clan gathers at Mario Patrizi Jr.'s house in Marlton for Thanksgiving dinner.