Sometimes the quarterback and wide receiver need only a quick hand signal to relay a change of plans at the line of scrimmage. Other times, it's a shared glance. Or, they just know.
C. Milton Wright's Omar and Osiah Walker, Franklin's Jacquez and Jordan Adams and Perry Hall's Jeff and Jerry Iweh have felt that connection all their lives, so it's not surprising to see it on the football field. It's not just about being brothers; it's about being twins.
At quarterback, Omar, Jacquez and Jeff have experienced moments when each has thrown the ball without seeing his brother down field only to find Osiah, Jordan or Jerry coming out of nowhere to catch it. It's that "twin thing."
"It exists," Jeff said, "because when a play starts, I can count on him knowing what I know and thinking the same thing."
Omar agreed: "I know what Osiah's going to do before he does it," he said.
While it's not unusual for high school football rosters to include twins, it isn't often that they play the marquee positions of quarterback and wide receiver. Three sets of twins playing those positions at the same time is unheard of in the Baltimore area.
But it makes sense that twins would gravitate to those positions. The bond between them, even fraternal twins Jacquez and Jordan, lends itself perfectly to the quarterback-receiver dynamic. It brings an added dimension to a football relationship that relies on trust, timing and cooperation.
The Walkers and the Adamses have played the positions since they were 10 or 12 years old. At 12, Jacquez and Jordan Adams connected on a pass play that went for a 60-yard touchdown in the first game they ever played.
"Omar could throw the ball with high school kids when he was like 10 years old," Osiah said. "From then on I knew it would be special if he threw to me, because he's my twin. I knew if we kept practicing, it would be something special."
Jerry Iweh had been a running back since he was 5 years old, but now 6-feet-4, he thought he was too tall by his sophomore year and figured he'd be a good fit as a receiver for Jeff, 6-3.
"You can definitely see the connection," Perry Hall tackle Matt Thompson said of the Iwehs. "They have a tandem thing going on. It's like telepathy."
Every pass Jerry has caught this season was thrown by his brother — 14 connections for 288 yards and five touchdown. The same is true for Osiah's 24 catches, 787 yards and four touchdowns and for Jordan's 33 catches, 588 yards and four touchdowns.
All three quarterbacks have other talented targets and they spread the ball around. Omar has 2,147 yards passing and 19 touchdowns. Jacquez has 1,915 yards and 17 touchdowns. Jeff has 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Still, each quarterback is often at his best when the play calls for a pass to his brother.
"There's a trust factor there," Perry Hall coach Keith Robinson said. "You can tell Jeff has a lot of trust in his brother and I'm sure it's the same for the other boys. I couldn't imagine having one without the other."
While Robinson said he sees the connection between the Iwehs as a familiarity developed over years of playing together, Franklin coach Anthony Burgos and C. Milton Wright coach Marc Alegi see something else at work.
"I think it was the Hereford game." Burgos said. "We called a play and Jacquez rolled out and just kind of threw it up there for his brother. Jordan made a tremendous catch and that opened the game up for us. They both know where each other is going to be. You can see it on tape."
Alegi can't point to one specific example. He could probably list dozens.
"It pretty much happens on a daily basis," Alegi said. "From the very first day Omar was at quarterback and Osiah was at receiver, they've been able to look at each other and make adjustments on the fly. They make audibles at the line just by looking at each other."
While the Walkers and C. Miton Wright (4-5) will have to wait until next year for a chance at the playoffs, the Iwehs, the only seniors among the trio, have the No. 8 Gators (8-1) standing in first place in the Class 4A North regional race. The Adamses and No. 12 Franklin (7-2) are first in Class 3A North with one game remaining in the regular season.
Perry Hall has already clinched the Baltimore County Division I title thanks in large part to a 27-7 win over Franklin in September.
The Iwehs, also defensive backs, said their connection helped them defend against Franklin's twins.
"The first thing that came to my mind when [Jacquez] started rolling out was find 23 [Jordan]. That's the person he'll probably throw to," Jerry said. "That's what me and my brother do. Any time he needs help, I'm the first person to try to make myself visible. I guess it's like that twin sense that your brother needs help and..."
"You're gong to be the first person to help him," concluded Jordan, with a knowing nod.
The connection between the twins probably shows the most on broken plays. Whenever they have to improvise on the run, that sixth sense is invaluable; it draws one to the other.
"If it's a busted play, I can always rely on him to make something happen," Jacquez Adams said. "If I roll out, he's always going to come back to the ball no matter what and I can just throw the ball and he will catch it."
As the brothers contemplate playing college football, both the Iwehs and the Adamses want to stay together, but the Walkers haven't decided. Alegi said Omar and Osiah seem to change their minds on a daily basis, but if they separate, they want to attend schools in close proximity.
All six have drawn interest from Division I colleges, so far mostly Football Championship Subdivision programs. Although some college coaches may hesitate to give scholarships to twins, fearing if one should leave, the other would too, the Iwehs and the Adamses said they will not split up.
Jordan has drawn attention from Football Bowl Subdivision programs such as West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia that are not recruiting his brother, although Burgos said interest in Jacquez could increase over the next year.
"No matter what my decision is to make, we're going to the same college," Jordan said. "I don't want to leave him. He's been there with me since day one. It would feel very awkward without him."
Jerry feels the same. "Honestly, I really think we could not go our own separate ways. Going to college together would be absolutely perfect, to carry on our twin legacy from 4 to like 22, playing with my brother would be awesome."
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