Tom and Nic Comella sat down at a picnic table adjacent to the Bishop Hendricken football field. Practice hadn’t started yet, but the twins were stretched and ready to go – eager for the season to start..
Distinguishing between the two Hendricken seniors is not easy. They have matching smiles, dirty blonde hair and chiseled, compact bodies.
Their personalities match, too. Determined, focused, hard working and competitive – on and off the field and against each other.
Few can tell them apart – including their head coach Keith Croft.
“That’s Tom,” said Croft, referring to the football player in a red shirt that would stand out from all others others wearing green. “The quarterback wears red (in practice). That’s the only way I can tell them apart.”
Perhaps the only difference between the Commella Twins is their positions. The twins play on opposite sides of the ball.
Tom is the Hawks starting QB. Nic starts at linebacker.
“They are tough, scrappy and leaders,” said Croft. “They are great, great kids … leaders on and off the field. They eat, breathe and sleep Hendricken football. We joke who is the stronger one, who is the taller one, etc…but both are terrific football players. “They came in as sophomore day one leaders and have contributed to our program “
The twins came into Hendricken just 5’6″ and now as their senior campaign is set to begin, Tom is listed at 5’8″. Nic insists he is taller by an inch.
All too often they hear they are undersized – especially when they are setting their sites on playing college football in just over a year.
To the Comella Twins and their coaching staff size doesn’t matter at all.
“We hear it. It definitely gives us a little chip,” said Nic, referring to being undersized. “It motivates us. I think my size helps actually helps me sometimes.. I am faster than people think. Anyone who thinks I am undersized hasn’t seen me play.”
“Tom and Nic are two of the top football players in the state,” said Croft. “They have nothing to prove to us. Every top athlete wants to get better and they work hard to improve. They are great, great kids.”‘
The twins certainly proved themselves last season when they helped lead Hendricken to an unbeaten season and the 2018 RIIL Super Bowl title.
Tom, the QB who is 34 minutes older than Nic, was the MVP of the Super Bowl. Tom threw for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass as the Hawks crushed La Salle, 42-6. Nic started all season at linebacker, earning second team All-State honors.
Both also excel in indoor and outdoor track and have received numerous awards in this sport.
“Speed is important to us,” said Nic. “We practice that all the time. Being on the track team has helped us so much with our speed.”
They have spent the summer preparing for their final season at Hendricken. They have personal goals, but their team is their top priority..
“I want to be a role model to younger guys and teach them how our defense runs so that when I am gone they will be able to teach the next generation how our defense is run,” said Nic.
To prepare for their final high school season, the twins attended more than a half dozen football camps and combines this summer, including the second annual Blackmon/Rowley Combine – directed by 12 year NFL veteran Will Blackmon and Kyle Rowley a former professional who played for more than a dozen years in Arena Football League. Blackmon played at Boston College, Rowley at Brown. Both were stars at Hendricken.
More than 120 high school athletes participated in the Blackmon/Rowley Combine over the Summer. The Comella Twins emerged as the top performers of the day.
“To have the opportunity to work with guys who played here at Hendricken and went on to have great college and pro careers was great,” said Nic. “I feel like I learned a lot and definitely got better. I ran my fastest times today. This coaching staff really helped me out,” said Nic.
“It was great competing… not only against my brother, but against all the guys from Rhode Island. We have a great bond because it’s such a small state. We all want to compete and we all want to get better. This camp really helped us do that,” said Tom. “It was great working with Lee (Moses) and Kwity (Paye) because they have all that experience. This was a great opportunity.”
They continued to work all summer, training with Lee Moses, the former Hendricken All-Stater and UMASS standout who recently worked out for the Arizona Cardinals.
“The Comella twins are awesome. I had a chance to sit with them and explain to them how college football is and what to expect going forward with their college careers, both academically and athletically,” said Moses. “They are really hard working guys. They would train with me early in the morning, sometimes 5 am and then the guys would go to work in the afternoon and then attend football practice afterwards. This was simply because the twins wanted to get better, learn more about the next level and what to expect once they get there. They would both come in ready to tackle each day with a positive attitude. One twin would always try to outdo the other, not just for bragging rights, but to push each other and try to better one another.”
The twins push each other on the field and in the classroom. Their goal this season is to win another Super Bowl. That’s first and foremost. Their personal goal is to catch the attention from college coaches.
“I have actually gotten some looks in track. They have received offers in track, but not yet in football,” said Tom. “We’re good students. We help each other out. We are definitely hard workers in the classroom. We’ll see what happens. “Whatever opportunities presents itself we will see.”
“Nic and Tom are both respectful young men who continue to work hard for their goals everyday and continue to prove that size doesn’t matter on the football field, “ said Moses. “I am excited to see how their season goes. The sky’s the limit for them.”
Croft said there is no doubt the Comella twins can contribute to college programs.
“Football players are football players. We hear so many stories in college and pros that certain guys are drafted or recruited because they weren’t a certain size. That doesn’t jive with me. These kids are two of the best players in the state. Any college that gets two kids that are all in will help their programs.”
For now they will focus on trying to help Hendricken repeat as Super Bowl champs.
“They will be big contributors this year. Tom has had a huge couple of years so far and we expect him to do it again. Nic is going to be the best defensive players in the state this year. He’s going to have a huge year. “