September 13, 2017 12:07:33 PM
STARKVILLE -- Tristan and Peyton Pisacane shared the dream of playing college football. Doing so together seemed almost impossible since Peyton had another dream: attending the United States Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, New York.
Everything changed when Peyton broke his leg in the final game of his high school career for Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee. The broken leg left him medically disqualified for West Point and the twin brothers looking for anywhere to live out the dream they share. They took their film to Rockey Felker, at the time Mississippi State's director of player development before retiring over the summer.
He offered them a roster spot. A year later, both of them are living their dreams.
Both Tristan and Peyton Pisacane were walk-on wide receivers on MSU's 2016 roster. Meanwhile, Peyton went through the entire application process to West Point again, was accepted and is now a cadet at the USMA. Tristan is still on the team; both are adjusting to football life without the other.
"My nickname is Twin, still," Tristan Pisacane told The Dispatch. "It's a lot different: we've always been together, we've always been on the same team. It's different, but it was good for us to go separate ways, plus it's always been his dream to go there."
To say their year together on the roster of a Southeastern Conference football team was beyond their imagination is an understatement: "I don't think my parents knew what to think, either," Peyton said. He added he always felt the two had the athletic ability, but their size -- Tristan is currently listed by MSU at 5-feet-9, 180 pounds -- was an obvious obstacle.
Peyton told The Dispatch the night before his and Tristan's first practice at MSU, he went to the chapel late at night to thank God for the opportunity being granted to them. They both remain thankful after the fact.
"Having my twin brother, my best friend next to me for all of that was a really cool experience," Tristan said.
Peyton added, "I think we're all still so excited for Tristan: the fact that (Tristan) got in the game the other day (against Louisiana Tech) made my day. I still bleed maroon and white."
Their year on the roster gave the two limitless memories, Peyton's favorites coming when they traveled for the St. Petersburg Bowl. The wide receiver meeting room was a fun place to be when they were together: Tristan joked he's still not sure if position coach Billy Gonzales could tell them apart.
The separation has not been easy, but both have continued on in good fashion. Tristan remains on MSU's roster and Peyton is playing sprint football for USMA, a form of the game in which players cannot be heavier than 178 pounds. He said he plans on playing that in the fall and trying to get on the school's varsity team, the Black Knights, in the spring.
Peyton still hasn't had much time to reflect on the year that was: he went to basic training for the USMA in the summer between his only year at MSU and the current fall semester. Getting adjusted to life as a cadet, plus leaving SEC football and his brother, remains an emotional subject: as he put it, he left, "right when (MSU football) started to feel like family."
Luckily, all he has to do is look at his surroundings when he misses the 2016 football season.
"It was my dream to come here for the academics and the future, but after basic training you realize what you're doing it for and who you're doing it for," Peyton Pisacane said. "It means a lot to you. When I think about my family, my brother especially, my teammates and friends back at Mississippi State, that's what's special about this school: you know in four years you're going to be commissioned somewhere as a second Lieutenant, lead troops and protect your family."
Follow Dispatch sports writer on Twitter, @Brett_Hudson