St. Vincent-St. Mary football coach Dan Boarman knows what kind of effort he is going to get from twins Aaron and Tony Adkins every day.
Regardless if it is time to practice or play a game, the Adkins twins are ready to hit somebody from their defensive line positions.
The 18-year-old seniors, born 15 minutes apart (Tony is older), don’t shy away from contact despite being smaller than most of the offensive linemen they tangle with.
“They are two of the toughest kids I have ever coached,” Boarman said. “They have basically been undersized on defense all year, and nobody has been able to handle them. The offensive linemen that we have gone against from Massillon and [Youngstown Cardinal] Mooney and all these other people, have all been bigger than them and they’ve controlled the line of scrimmage.”
The Adkins twins are ready to play at 7 p.m. Thursday when St. V-M (14-0) meets Trotwood-Madison (11-2) in the Division III state championship game at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. A victory would give St. V-M its second state title in a row.
“We have played next to each other since third grade,” Aaron said. “We always line up next to each other and play together. To do something like this twice is crazy. A lot of people don’t get do that with their brother. This is really special.”
Aaron, who is 6-foot and 200 pounds, has a 3.8 grade-point-average. He enjoys playing guitar and singing, and plans to major in pharmacy. Tony, who is 6-0 and 205, has a 3.5 GPA. He likes fishing and hunting and plans to major in engineering. The brothers are considering attending college in the state and possibly playing football.
“It is always a competition,” Tony said. “We go against each other to get better. We are real competitive. That is why I am going to wrestle this year because I don’t want him to have another state title over me.”
The brothers helped St. V-M win its football title as juniors and Aaron won a Division II state wrestling title last season at 182 pounds. Tony plans to wrestle at 195 after a three-year hiatus from the mat.
“It is great that he is coming back,” Aaron said. “I always like having people that push me and one more person in the room that can help towards a team title sounds good.”
Tony and Aaron both wrestled as children and have been drilling partners before.
“Last year I helped drill with him before he went to state,” Tony said. “Then when he won state, I decided I was going to wrestle as a senior.”
In football, the twins play on a defensive line with senior Travonte Junius and junior Dre’k Brumley. Behind them are senior linebackers Dante Booker Jr. and Newman Williams and junior Vince Lockett.
“When you look at the defense and when you look at the offense, you see there are studs at every position,” Aaron said. “It lets you focus more on your job because you know they will take care of their job.”
Tony said he and his brother agreed to convert to another position to get to play.
“Sophomore year, I never would have thought I would be a defensive lineman,” Tony said. “Going into junior year, we just had so much talent at the linebacker position they actually moved us to the line. We are really linebackers playing defensive line.”
St. V-M defensive coordinator Marcus Wattley and line coach Rob Brown rave about the twins, and Brown laughs at the oddities that connect he and his wife, Linda, to them. The couple has twin 3-year-old daughters, Rory and Emma Grace, and three years ago the family moved into a house in the same Norton neighborhood in which the Adkins live.
“I really understand the twin thing much more now,” Brown said. “It is funny the connection our families have. I know their mother [Michelle] very well and have talked with their father [Mike]. As far as football, you tell them to do anything and they will do it. The other factor involved is they are undersized. They are the toughest kids ever playing on the field. Consistently, they are going against kids who are a lot bigger in terms of height and weight, but there is no drop off in these guys. I also like how they protect each other. You see them at the end of plays helping each other up and high-fiving each other. Of the 11 people on the field on defense, those two are always together.”
Booker describes the twins as “two beasts” and Williams feels similarly.
“The twin brothers bring a bad mentality, and what I mean by that is they are tough,” Williams said. “They are two of the toughest people I have ever played with. They bust their butts every play, and help us stop the run and defend the pass.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.