Twin city

Growing up as twin brothers, Lewis and Charlie Sebrell became used to the standard list of questions.

"Can you read each other's minds?"

"Do you finish each other's sentences?"

"When one gets hurt, does the other feel pain?"

So, for the record the answers are: No, sometimes, and only when they used to spar each other during Karate competitions.

But even with the mysteries of twinhood unraveled, the Sebrell's have been fascinating to watch since their freshman year at Ashland High in 2005. Both play key roles in every sport they play, and their contributions on the gridiron, basketball court, hockey ice and baseball field over the past two years have helped the Grizzlies and Pilots (American Legion Baseball) claim one conference title, one state title and a healthy collection of playoff victories.

While the September-to-June success is a relatively new phenomenon at AHS, it's business as usual for the Sebrells, who have won at pretty much every level, in every sport.

This school year has been no different. As juniors, the twins are key contributors on an Ashland High football team that's off to a dazzling start. The Grizzlies are 6-0 for the first time since their 1998 state championship season heading into tonight's game at 0-6 Mazama. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

The competitive spirit of the Sebrells became apparent early in life.

"They seem to be closer now, but earlier they were a little bit too competitive," said their dad and baseball coach, Dave Sebrell.

"When we were younger, we used to do Karate, and the championship would always come down to me and (Charlie) sparring each other," Lewis added, grinning at the memory of fighting his brother with a trophy on the line. "I guess when you're younger you go at them as hard as you can. But now, I think it would be extremely weird."

That's because now, they're always on the same team, although different positions. Lewis, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back, is the workhorse in Ashland's backfield. He has team highs in carries (95), rushing yards (444) and rushing touchdowns (3) after missing his sophomore year with a broken leg. Charlie, listed at 6-1, 175, was a second-team all-Southern Sky Conference wide receiver last year and so far this year has 12 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Their combined efforts spearhead the most balanced offensive attack in the SSC: Ashland is gaining 265 yards per game &

125 rushing and 140 passing.

When football season ends, the Sebrell's will head off in different directions for the winter &

Charlie plays basketball and Lewis plays hockey. Then, it's on to baseball, their first love and the sport through which their specific skill sets &

quickness, superior hand-eye coordination and outstanding upper body strength &

are best utilized.

Over the summer and spring, the Sebrells proved as much. With Charlie pitching and roaming the outfield and Lewis behind the plate, Ashland advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in team history during the high school season, then won state and advanced to the regional semifinals during the American Legion A season.

That experience ranks among their best sports-related memories, says Charlie, and both are leaning toward making baseball the sport they chose to pursue at the next level. Charlie is starting that process this week by sending packets to Chico State, San Diego State and Hawaii Pacific, among others.

While Lewis has always played football, starting at the Pop Warner level, Charlie instead made soccer his fall sport of choice growing up. That started to change during his seventh grade year, when he first gave football a shot while continuing to play goal keeper on his soccer team. He played football again as an eighth grader. Soon, he was hooked.

"I started liking football, and the thing about soccer was I didn't get to use my speed," Charlie said. "I started to think that playing receiver could be a big thing for me, so freshman year I dropped out of soccer and I played football and ever since I've just loved it.

"I don't regret it at all," he added. "I still have people trying to get me back into soccer, but I don't think that's going to be for me."

Lewis laughs at the memory of his brother's first football experience.

"His first couple games he had a lot of penalties, so we went over all that," he said.

Eventually, Charlie learned the rules and now the two are on equal footing on the gridiron. But that doesn't mean they don't have their brotherly moments.

"We always get stuck in conversations when we try to compare a wide receiver to a running back, which position is harder," Lewis said.

Going by numbers alone, both positions figure to be cakewalks against lowly Mazama, which is the SSC's worst team in every statistic that the league tracks: total offense, total defense, scoring offense, scoring defense and turnover ratio. The Vikings, who have been outscored 237 to 63, are gaining just 200 yards per game while giving up 408. Further smothering their chances of being competitive, the Vikings have turned the ball over 18 times.

Still, Ashland head coach Charlie Hall, preaching consistency, said the Grizzlies have had a solid week of practice and doesn't expect a letdown one week after an emotional win over Crater. Motivation can be found in the drive to improve, he added. The Grizzlies struggled to move the ball against the Comets, a kink Ashland aims to work out tonight.

"Basically, we came right back to work on Monday and we analyzed the film and we saw that we have so many things to improve on, especially offensively," Hall said. "Offensively, we're really just having a hard time finding a rhythm without shooting ourselves in the foot, so we're trying to eliminate those mistakes. We're playing really great on defense and it's just a matter of offensively, let's make sure we try to eliminate some mistakes and just kind of play off the defense."

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.

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