Walker: Wayne Reese Jr. meets Wayne Reese Sr. as McDonogh 35 meets St. Aug _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ROD WALKER Father son Wayne Reese and Wayne Reese Jr. talk before Saturday's game at Tad Gormley Stadium.

For little Lindsey Reese, who turns 5 on Monday, it was a decision too hard to make on her own.

So she did what any 4-year old girl would do.

She solicited some advice from her dad.

“Should I cheer for Paw Paw or should I cheer for you,” she asked her father earlier this week.

Dad’s advice?

“You can cheer for us both,” he advised.

Wayne Reese Sr. is the head coach at McDonogh 35. His son, Wayne Reese Jr. is in his first season as offensive line coach at St. Augustine.

The two stood on opposite sidelines for the first time Saturday night at Tad Gormley Stadium as the Roneagles and Purple Knights clashed in the season opener.

It was the first time in more than a decade that the elder Reese didn’t have his son with him.

“It’s killing me right now,” Reese said before the game. “I haven’t had to call a play in 13 years. Now I have to call them all.”

The father and son shook hands before kickoff in a game that always seem to be a family affair in the Reese household.

Wayne Reese’s brothers played football at St. Augustine.

Wayne Reese Jr.’s mother-in-law graduated from McDonogh 35. So did his wife. And his father-in-law graduated from St. Augustine.

“We always have about 30 or 35 people here,” the elder Reese said. “It’s always been really split up when we play. It’s like a big family reunion.”

For Wayne Reese Jr., it was his first game as a Purple Knight.

But he knew he would always be on someone’s sideline. He grew up around football, tagging along behind his father, first as a water ball. Then as a ball boy.

He went on to become a star center playing for his father at Carver before going on to play at Grambling.

“Hanging around my dad and being around football since I was knee high, it just rubs off on you,” Reese Jr. said. “Nothing was forced on me. Football is just something that you gravitate to. It’s just something that’s in our blood.”

While football is important to the Reeses, family is always first.

So this was just a normal week for father and son. They talked just as much leading up to Saturday’s game as they always do.

“He always taught me that family comes first,” Reese Jr., said. “Well actually, God, then family. You can’t put it into words what my dad means to me. He always stressed to me that hard work pays off. You can’t beat hard work and if you want to be something in life, you have to work hard.”

The elder Reese sees a bright coaching future for his son.

“He coaches with such a passion,” Reese said. “He is one of the better offensive-minded guys I have seen. Every year, your stuff gets old. But the way he tweaked stuff for our offense and made it better is amazing to see. He is just a hell of a football coach.”

Bragging rights went to the son Saturday night.

St. Aug won 32-22.

Either way, it was a victory for the Reeses.

Florida Reese, Wayne’s mom, would’ve been proud.

Wayne Reese knows she would have been.

“We have so many St. Aug and McDonogh 35 folks in the family that she would always sit right there in the middle,” said Reese, Sr. “She would’ve wanted us both to win.”

Just like little Lindsey Reese.