Twins are Staples to Pats' success

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Junior Skyler Staples (9) carries the ball for Heritage Hills in Friday's 35-14 win against North Posey. Skyler ran the ball eight times for 33 yards and a touchdown. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

Editor's Note: Quotes to this story are from Wednesday. 

LINCOLN CITY - Here comes Heritage Hills football once again after a tough year last year, as the Patriots (4-1) have been putting themselves back together following their rebuild and getting back to their winning ways, which continued on Friday with a 35-14 win against North Posey.

Accounting for a big part of what the Pats are doing this year are junior twins Skyler and Shane Staples - two quiet, soft-spoken players who turn it up on gameday, and Friday night was no different. Skyler, the oldest, now stands at 261 rushing yards this season and six touchdowns, while Shane is now at 209 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown.

Being on the same offense, and both being integral parts of the offense, requires communication with one another. So, the twins have their own system to convey their ideas while they're out on the field, such as using different signals to communicate with each other on offense.

For example, they will nod their head yes to each other.

"We know one of us is going in motion or getting the ball," Skyler said.

Then again, the twins could also nod their heads no, sometimes, too.

"It means, 'Don't go in motion,' or 'The other person's going in motion,' - stuff like that," Shane said.

The twins made their impact once again in different phases of the game against the Vikings. North Posey took a 7-0 lead with a touchdown on the opening drive, but Heritage Hills reeled off 35 points in a row before the Vikings responded. Part of that came from the takeaways the Pats came up with. Shane, a safety, intercepted Vikings senior quarterback Harold Bender in the second quarter, and added another in the fourth.

Both of them also crossed the end zone Friday against the Vikings, making it the third time this season both twins scored a touchdown. Shane went first with a three-yard run with 8:41 to play in the third quarter, and it was 21-7 following senior Ethan Hill's extra point. Skyler joined him towards the later part when his 5-yard run boosted Heritage Hills' lead, and Hill capped it off to make it 28-7, with 1:29 to play.

Pats coach Todd Wilkerson lauded the twins for how hard both of them run and their ability to break tackles, but he's also wanting them to block with that same intensity. He noted that both twins embrace that they need to be leaders on offense and defense this year - but he added that it's also a process with them. Wilkerson pointed out how quiet both twins are, and he's looking for them to communicate more and serve as vocal leaders for Heritage Hills.

Junior Shane Staples (3) had a big night Friday to help Heritage Hills come away with a 35-14 victory against North Posey. He rushed for 85 yards on 14 carries, scored a touchdown and intercepted two passes on defense. 

"They're not where we want them to be in terms of leadership and growth, but they're juniors - they just had time on the field last year as sophomores," Wilkerson said. "So, we kind of have higher expectations for them as juniors. They definitely both have a switch that when they both flip their switch, they can get mean and nasty - and that's what we like."

Wilkerson told The Herald that the biggest thing the twins have shown in their careers is how hard-nosed they are - adding that they don't shy away from contact. He noted how Shane and Skyler both fit the wishbone offense the Pats are known to run.

"They got decent speed, they're physical, they're not worried about contact," he said. "So, in our system, we need kids that are going to run through tackles. We're not running a zone scheme or a scheme where you're going to spread people out and get lots of space. You're going to be running in physical boxes, lots of people coming. So, we're going to need kids who are going to run through contact."

"He's more of like a juke kind of guy - I'm like (a) run through you kind of guy," Skyler said.

Losing seasons don't come often at Heritage Hills, and 2020 was one of those year instances where the Pats finished with a record below .500 at 4-6. Skyler and Shane both got their feet wet last year as sophomores, but this year, they're bigger, faster and stronger.

The twins have made a lot of progress since being dealt a setback in the 23-15 season opener loss to Mt. Vernon. They weren't the difference makers then that they are now because the Wildcats' defense held Skyler to negative yardage on the ground, while Shane mustered just nine yards against Mt. Vernon.

"Honestly, we just came into the game really nervous and stuff like that," Shane said. "I wish we can get a shot at them in the playoffs or something."

If and until that time comes, the twins will try to help Heritage Hills keep the win streak going, as the Pats are scheduled to play Sept. 24 at Gibson Southern in an attempt to make it five in a row.

"We're going to go out and give every team the best shot that we've got," Shane said.




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