According to Aiken High junior football players Miles and Matthew Springs, being twins has its benefits.
Unfortunately, telepathy isn’t one of them.
“Every once in a while, we’ll say the exact same thing at the same time,” Matthew said. “It’s more like a connection thing, like somebody you’ve known a long time.”
Naturally, the Springs have known each other longer than they’ve known anyone else on the team. Born December 23, 1997, the fraternal twins have distinct appearances, but similar names, size and the facial features any siblings might have in common created some confusion when the pair first came into the Aiken football program as freshmen.
“We started playing our ninth-grade year,” Matthew said. “Starting off, they got us confused, but they figured it out.”
The twins have also figured some things out on the football field. Both started off as defensive backs, but Miles has since moved to the stinger or outside linebacker position.
That spot allows him to cover recievers but also step up in the running game as a linebacker.
“I’m more force,” Miles said. “I like to cover, but I also like tackling, too.”
During Aiken’s Spring Game, Miles had his name called several times for key tackles, a fact that didn’t escape second-year head coach Brian Neal’s notice. He singled Miles out in his post-game comments to the team.
“Weight room has paid off for him, no doubt about it,” Neal said of Miles.
Matthew said he also heard about Miles’ accolades once the duo got home, from both Miles and other family members.
“I was just happy they were saying my name,” Miles said.
The brotherly ribbing that the two give each other at home is another facet of the twins’ football relationship. If one makes a mistake at practice or in a game, the other will make sure that the gaffe is a topic of discussion later.
While Miles is up-front about his jabs, Matthew is a little more sneaky.
“He kind of does it, but he does it on the sly,” Miles said of his brother’s tactics. “He’s kind of slick.”
Neither is expected to be in the starting lineup for the Hornets tonight, but both missed about a month and a half of summer workout time to pursue another of their shared passions: the arts.
The twins were part of the Gateway program, with Matthew studying drama and Miles studying dance. Miles, who enjoys hip-hop and jazz styles of dance, said that memorizing choreography had its benefits on the field, as well as some physical payoffs.
“Dance, you have to stretch a lot,” he said. “It helps you with your footwork.”
Matthew, whose favorite role was as a detective in a mystery he performed at Schofield, said that drama’s benefits – which also include memory – are more of a mental nature.
“It helps with attitude and persistence,” he said.
In addition to all that, the Springs have taken advantage of two very tangible advantages of having a twin on the team. One involves their play on the field, and the other involves having a teammate once they get home.
“We can communicate well on the field,” Miles said. “At home we can practice together. ... Most people don’t have one-on-one practice at home.”
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University. Follow him on Twitter @ASJTimm.