By Tom Price Jr.
Eric Capello led the Exeter Monarch's football team in touchdowns scored this year with 12. He is arguably the team's most productive receiver and he helped the Monarchs stun rival Woodlake in the team's final game of the season this year.
So why would this stellar sophomore receiver be rooting for Woodlake on Dec. 13?
Because his father and step-father will take the field wearing orange and black against the blue and gold of Exeter at the annual alumni game.
"I will root for my dads," Capello said. "If Exeter wins though I might talk a little trash."
Al Capello, Eric's biological father and Rene Florez, his step-father both graduated from Woodlake in the 1980's and played football for the Tigers.
With Eric playing his first year on varsity this year, his two dads sat in Exeter's bleachers rooting for the team they once despised.
"These are two towns that hate each other, it has been orange and black and blue and gold since I can remember," Flores said. "It's been hard to watch Eric play for Exeter, but as long as he does good that is all I care about. If they beat Woodlake oh well."
When the alumni teams for Exeter and Woodlake face off this Friday the feelings of 'oh well' will be long gone. Even with full knowledge that playing at their age could be dangerous they still make the decision to take the field.
"I have been out of high school for 20 years now and sometimes I think 'I am too old to play tackle football," said Al Capello.
Age will matter little when they take the field. In recent years the alumni game has been a physical battle on the field that has led to numerous altercations.
Despite their age, Al Capello and Rene Flores will take the field again next year because they will have a little incentive.
Vincent Capello, Eric's older brother and graduate of EUHS, will likely be taking the field for the Monarchs alumni team.
"He keeps telling me Exeter is going to kills us," Flores said. "It will be fun to get a chance to play against him."
Even without the family ties that run through this game for Al, Eric and Rene the game is still one that they love and once they are on the field they have one thing in mind.
"Alumni football is not high school football," Flores said. "You are going to see some hits and some trash talking."
So the tables will be turned on Saturday when two dads who watched their son from the stands all year long, will take the field.