Liberty defensive backs Adrian Hull and Steven Lewis danced in unison as they waited for the rest of their teammates to finish dividing into two long rows, as they do every time they enter or exit a field, Friday night at Sherando. The 10th-ranked Eagles had completed their warm-ups and were headed back into the locker room for one final bit of instruction before being introduced to start the game.
Hull and Lewis were third in line, grooving to the tunes that blared from the stadium's loud speaker and laughing as they tried to one-up each another.
The two looked just like twins.
Only Adrian Hull's real twin brother, Aaron, stood several rows back with a steely look on his face and not even a little sway in his step.
"If people don't really know us, they never believe that we're twins," Adrian said. "Even if we tell them they think it's a joke, and they'll say, 'No you're not!' Trust me -- we get that a lot."
For starters, the size difference between Adrian and Aaron, who said he prefers to go by the nickname Ernie, is significant. Adrian, a defensive back, stands 5 feet 7, 165 pounds. Ernie, a defensive tackle, is a much more robust 5-10, 251 pounds. Adrian, who also has been used at tailback and wide receiver, has the speed. Ernie, who works at fullback, has the power.
Off the field, the 17-year-old juniors vary on many other fronts. Adrian is outgoing, Ernie a bit more reserved. Ernie loves beef; Adrian isn't a vegetarian but does avoid red meet. Adrian prefers a simpler look with solid-colored T-shirts; Ernie's wardrobe is filled with shirts adorned with pictures.
Both, however, were named first-team all-district on defense as sophomores.
"Everybody has always said that me and [my older brother] Mike should be twins and not me and Adrian," Ernie said. "It's like we don't go together."
After being separated for years during youth football leagues because Ernie would always play in a bigger division, the brothers are relishing this second year of playing together. Both also were members of last season's team that went undefeated through the AA Northwestern District before falling to Stone Bridge in the AA Region II Division 4 title game.
"We've been together our whole lives except during youth football and our freshman year, when he was on varsity and I played freshman," Adrian said. "So to be back together now has made us stronger in our relationship. It's great when you see anyone on the team make a big play. But it's different, too, when it's your family. Somehow it just makes it more fun. It's like, if he gets a big hit, then I wanna get one, too."
This season, Adrian has rushed 10 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns, caught seven passes for 135 yards and two more scores and returned 11 punts for 239 yards and a touchdown. Defensively he has recorded 20 tackles and four pass breakups.
Ernie, meanwhile, has thrived on putting pressure on quarterbacks. He has recorded a team-high six sacks for negative 38 yards, totaled 18 tackles (including four for loss), broken up two passes and blocked a field goal. He also has rushed for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.
"Ernie is a tough kid," Liberty Coach Tommy Buzzo said. "Teams now are trying to find a way to double-team him, but he's going to have to learn to fight through that. Sometimes he wants to rest too much. And Adrian, he's playing good defense, but I believe he can play better. And we need to figure out a way to get him some more touches on the ball. He's electrifying when he gets the ball in his hands.
"Beyond football, though, the biggest thing is that they're both really good kids. And they're very close. Certainly very different but close, too. It's a fun relationship to watch."