SUNBURY, Ohio (WCMH) — Undefeated Big Walnut is off to its best start since 2014.
The 7-0 Eagles are looking for just their second state title in school history and making history is something that runs in the family for one of the team’s stand out players.
“I think coming from a football family helps ya know,” Big Walnut junior Nicky Pentello said.
From his dad to his cousin to his brother, Nicky Pentello has grown up around the game of football.
“Grownups that I didn’t know but they knew my family would walk up to me when I was little without them around and would be like ‘Are you Rocko’s brother? Are you Rocky’s son?” Nicky said.
His brother, Rocco, was a star quarterback at Westerville South where his dad, Rocky, coached for 24 years leading the team to 10 playoff appearances and seven league titles.
There’s also his cousin, Rocky, who still holds all of the passing records at Capital University.
“As a football coach, the name Rocky Pentello stands out and I’ll be honest, I played against his cousin [Rocky] when he was at Capital and he diced me up,” said Big Walnut coach Rob Page who played at Otterbein.
Now, there’s a new Pentello who leads Big Walnut in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
“It means a lot to carry the last name but I don’t like to be compared to my siblings,” Nicky said. “[I want to] create my own kind of thing with it.”
He was doing his own thing at St. Francis DeSales last year when he was given All-District Special Mention honors.
“For a kid to start as a sophomore on a state championship appearance team, that’s pretty special,” Page said. “We got a great opportunity to have an exceptional playmaker that can do a lot of different things.”
Expectations come with having the Pentello name, but it’s something Nicky doesn’t worry about.
“You know I play as hard as I can for the team to win. That’s all I care about is doing what I can to make the team better and help the team win,” he said. “I think that’s the most important part of football.”