Penei and Gabriel Sewell will play against each other for the first time Saturday.
The brothers have not been in a game on the same football field since 2014 when Gabriel was an all-state senior linebacker at Desert Hills High School in St. George, Utah, while Penei made the varsity as a freshman offensive lineman who would turn into a four-star recruit.
“In practice, he did get me,” Penei Sewell recalled. “I was a freshman and he was a senior going to college so he did light me up a bit. Now I’m a sophomore in college and he’s a senior so we will see how it goes.”
The two could come in contact when No. 16 Oregon (0-1) hosts Nevada (1-0) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Penei Sewell is a second-year starter at left tackle for the Ducks. His brother led the Wolf Pack with 92 tackles last season at linebacker.
“I’ll probably see him a couple times,” Penei said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, I’m going through my daily routine. Probably when I see him across, it will hit me.”
Gabriel and Arlene Sewell will be sporting jerseys with the colors of both schools and the numbers of their two sons.
“They will be in a bind for who to cheer for,” said Gabriel, the oldest of the four boys in the family. “I’m more interested in what section they sit in, what clothes they wear. We’ll see who is the favorite son.”
There would have been a third Sewell in the game, but Nephi, a defensive back, transferred from Nevada to Utah in the offseason. The youngest boy, Noah, is a five-star linebacker in the 2020 class with Oregon among his final eight schools.
The family has known Saturday’s showdown was coming since Penei signed with the Ducks. The brothers have been texting and speaking on FaceTime regularly as they do all season.
“We never mention anything about the game,” Penei Sewell said.
“We’ve never played against each other in anything besides video games,” Gabriel added.
Gabriel recalled his younger brother watching YouTube videos of offensive linemen to study his craft during high school.
“Penei’s freshman year, he got in on varsity with us a little bit and was kind of shy at first, but then it started to click that he could hang with the seniors,” he said. “Once that clicked for him, he was just another guy in pads.”
That’s the mentality both Sewell boys plan to take into Saturday’s game.
“It’s the first time I’ve played against my brother, but at the same time there are 10 others on both sides of the ball,” Gabriel Sewell said. “It is not going to be Sewell vs. Sewell. … We both know this game is not the end of the world for us. They want to win the Pac-12 and national championship and we want to win the Mountain West championship. This game doesn’t change that, so our goals are still in sight.”
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