ARLINGTON, Texas -- Twins Eric and Stephen Amoako are providing their own version of double coverage for an Arlington Martin football team enjoying its winningest season in school history.
Eric (6-foot, 191 pounds) starts at left cornerback for the Warriors (11-1), who face Euless Trinity (12-0) in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff noon Saturday at Pennington Field in Bedford.
Stephen (5-foot-11, 193 pounds) is Martin’s starting right cornerback. He spoke of the bond that exists with his brother, who is one minute younger.
“We aren’t competitive against each other as much as we are against opponents,’’ Stephen said. “If somebody says something to one of us, he’s really saying it to both of us.
“If my brother doesn’t have a good game, I don’t feel good even if I played well.’’
Eric, who moved to corner from safety this season, called it a “real blessing’’ to be a part of a very good team with his brother a teammate.
The Warriors exceeded the 2010 school record of 10 wins with last week’s 43-12 area playoff victory over San Angelo Central. That set up Round 3 with Trinity. The Trojans have ended Martin’s previous two seasons in the third round of the playoffs.
“Like everybody says, Trinity is big and talented,’’ Stephen said. “But we’re playing with confidence. We know we’ve put in the work to get here.’’
Eric said he anticipates using some of skills learned as a safety to help slow the run against a ground-oriented Trinity offense. But he is enjoying his time at cornerback.
“I get a rush playing out there because so much of it is one-on-one, you against the receiver,’’ Eric said. “It keeps you more on edge. I like the challenge.’’
In May, the brothers removed recruiting pressure by orally committing to the University of Oregon. North Carolina and Kansas State were also considered.
Eric said he was impressed by Oregon after playing there in a 7-on-7 tournament two years ago.
Oregon is getting two players who were nearly identical in off-season performance tests, Martin coach Bob Wager said.
Each can run 40-yard sprints below 4.5 seconds and excel in the weight room.
So far this season, Eric has made more tackles than his brother (36 solos, five assists compared to 18 solos, two assists), but Stephen has a 3-2 lead in interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Wager said in looking back, several factors have contributed to this year’s success.
“We won a lineman’s challenge for the first time in the spring,’’ Wager said. “We had a chance to play in the Red Bull 7-on-7 and ended up winning the national title. That was certainly a confidence-builder. It is hard to say exactly what makes a team successful, but when you have accomplishments like those, guys see that their work is paying off.’’
Eric said Martin’s secondary began the 7-on-7 summer season playing not so good.
"I don't think we won a game in our first tournament,'' Eric said. "But things started clicking by the time we got to the Red Bull Finals.''
Stephen said that talks to the Red Bull Finals’ participants by Miami’s Reggie Bush and the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware in the summer have stuck with him, something he was reminded of watching the Cowboys-Dolphins game Thursday.
Said Stephen: “Seeing world class athletes up close is pretty exciting, and then hearing their message that if you work hard, you can accomplish your goals makes you think, ‘I can do it if I do the work.’’’