They line up side by side in the Mount Sinai offensive backfield, Mark Donadio wearing No. 5 and his twin, Mike Donadio, wearing No. 6. For opposing defenses, they are the brothers grim.
"Two great kids, two great athletes," Mustangs coach Vinnie Ammirato said. "Identical twins, identical talents on the football field."
Usually, the 5-11, 185-pound seniors form a 1-2 punch that is tough to stop, Mark running inside from his fullback slot, Mike scooting outside from the halfback position. On defense, Mark plays defensive back; Mike is a linebacker. Saturday, though, Mike injured his thumb midway through the first quarter and did not return. He wasn't needed as Mark led Mount Sinai to an easy 36-6 victory over visiting Stony Brook in a Suffolk IV game.
Mark Donadio scored on touchdown runs of 8 and 21 yards and gained 109 yards on 10 carries -- all in the first half as the Mustangs built a 29-0 lead at the break and had their subs in the game before the homecoming floats appeared at halftime. They improved to 3-0, while the Bears fell to 2-1.
"Our line was firing off the ball and holding their blocks," Donadio said. "That opened up the middle for me."
While his brother was in the game -- Mike carried twice for 11 yards on the first drive -- they were doing what they usually do: sharing the load according to the defensive alignments. "Our offense is sequential," Ammirato said. "Whatever the defense gives us. Mark is the fullback and usually runs inside. Mike is the halfback and can get outside. Sometimes Mark will get six carries in a row. Sometimes Mike will get six carries in a row. They're so similar in ability, we could easily flip them."
Because Mount Sinai was having little trouble with Stony Brook, despite workhorse Donald Liotine's 169 yards on 22 carries, Ammirato opted not to put Mike Donadio back in the game. "He could've come back if we needed him," the coach said. "We'll need him next week."
That's when Mount Sinai hosts unbeaten Babylon in a key Suffolk IV showdown that likely will require the myriad talents of both Donadio brothers. Mike gained 976 yards last season while Mark totaled 805. As good as they are in football, their best sport actually is baseball. Both are outfielders with Mike earning a scholarship to St. John's and Mark to Fordham.
They are not sibling rivals in any sense of the word and neither minds a bit if the other gets more carries. "No competition, none at all," Mark said. "We help each other out and make each other better."
Ammirato confirmed that, saying, "They are old-fashioned, quiet kids. They didn't speak at all until their junior year. They just did their jobs. There's not a selfish bone in their bodies. When one runs, the other blocks for him."
Except for Saturday, when Mark got a rare opportunity to be the focal point of the offense. "Usually, we go back and forth," Mark said with a grin. "Today I had to pick him up."
That's just what brothers do.