Matt DeSalle hardly missed a Mainland Regional High School football game growing up.
The Northfield resident usually had a relative on the field for the Mustangs.
DeSalle, 17, is the latest member of his family to play for Mainland. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior excels at defensive back and running back.
His 27-year-old brother Mike played for Mainland. His three cousins also played, starting with Tony DeSalle, who starred at running back and defensive back for the 1995 Mustangs, one of the best teams in school history.
"It was cool going to the games when I was younger," Matt DeSalle said. "I always had somebody to cheer for. I always had somebody to idolize and want to be like when I got older."
Mainland dropped its first two games this season, but the Mustangs have won two straight to get back to the .500 mark.
The Mustangs play at Holy Spirit (2-2) at 7 p.m. today, a matchup that is one of the region's best rivalries.
In a telephone interview Tuesday night, DeSalle spoke about several topics, including the Mainland vs. Holy Spirit rivalry and what got the Mustangs started on their current winning streak.
On the Mainland-Holy Spirit rivalry: It's a sweeter rivalry (than the Mustangs have with other schools). Most of the kids on our team know the Spirit players. We even grown up with them. We see them outside the school. It's like, "You want to beat your friend."
On what sparked Mainland's current winning streak: After the second loss (a 38-7 defeat to St. Augustine), we realized we had to get it together and that nothing was going to be given for us. We just started to work as hard as we could and try to have fun out there. That game put us the frame of mind we needed to be to come back and make good things happen.
On the Mustangs' keys to victory in the past two games: I believe we communicate better on the field. We've rallied around each more than we did in the first two games. We're closer as a team and that has helped us tremendously.
On the excitement around tonight's game: Everyone is looking forward to it. We've been on a roll lately.
On Mainland coach Bob Coffey being a Holy Spirit graduate: We're all knowledgeable of that, but we haven't really touched base on that with him. Now that you bring it up, I might have to say something about it to him.
On his career plans: I'm almost positive I want to go into physical therapy. I enjoy helping people, and I enjoy sports so much. This would be a way for me to be around sports.
On what Mainland football means to his family: It means pride. It's something that's always been a part of us.
On the possibility of future DeSalles playing football for Mainland: For a little bit, there will be a dry spell. But Tony (DeSalle) has three kids, and I'm sure they'll end up playing football just like we all have.