Varsity Kansas

Two times the fun for Northwest linemen

Northwest assistant football coach Corby Milleson has resorted to calling junior offensive linemen Alex and Kyle Lee by one name —Kylex.

"I can't tell them apart," Milleson said.

About the only time Milleson or coach Weston Schartz can tell them apart is by their jersey number or in practice when Alex wears blue shoes and Kyle wears black.

Such is the curse of being a twin.

Neither Lee gets too upset when called the wrong name. They've got too many other things to think about.

Like how they're going to put that defensive lineman on his back. How they're going to create a hole for Deron Thompson or Skyler Krehbiel to run through. How they're going to beat the other in eating contests.

Yes, eating contests.

The Lees compete over anything — grades, weight lifting. But their favorite is the eating contests.

Put food in front of the twins, and they'll see who can finish first. A recent trip to Chipotle resulted in a contest over who could eat their burrito the fastest.

It doesn't matter who wins. There's always another something, anything, to be turned into a competition.

The Lees (both 6-foot, 260 pounds) are eerily similar, and they have no problem with that.

"One twin thinks he's the other twin, that's the thing about twins," said Alex, whose team will play host to Derby (6-3) tonight in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. "We're friends with all the same people. We are different in ways, but for the most part, we're pretty much the same.

"There's times where we feel the same thing, we think the same thing. It's like we're a team, and a well-oiled machine."

That connection is nice to have on the football field.

"He plays right guard and I play right tackle," Alex said. "I know his job, and he knows mine. I can count on him to get the job done, as well as the rest of my linemen. But I'm closer to him, so I know more of what he can do, what he's capable of doing."

They don't even have to talk. They just know.

"We know what the other is going to do," Kyle said. "I know that if I go up to the linebacker, he can get the defensive lineman by himself. He knows I can do the same for him."

The Lees spent their freshman season playing fullback and tight end, but the Grizzlies (7-2) needed them on the offensive line. They weren't entirely sure about the move, but they embraced the position.

Schartz calls them aggressive, athletic offensive linemen.

"It's unreal to watch them on film," Milleson said. "The surge of those five (linemen).... I credit the twins for that because they are confident players. They know what needs to be done, they get it done. They communicate, they make line calls."

The Lees lead the team in pancake blocks — Kyle with 56, Alex 48.

"They take a lot of pride in that we run the football, a lot, behind them," Schartz said.

At the start of summer workouts, the Lees were split up on the offensive line in an attempt to bring balance to a young group.

It didn't work.

"We were not near as good," Milleson. "We put them back side by side."

Alex and Kyle are happiest next to each other, whether it's on the football field or hunting and fishing.

"Being a twin is like being really, really close to someone," Kyle said. "Having a best friend with you throughout your whole life. You go everywhere with them, do everything with them."

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