Yorktown head football coach Bruce Hanson stood on the field at Greenbrier Stadium during Monday’s practice and talked about how well his defense has played this season. The Patriots, 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the National District, are holding opponents to 8.4 points per contest in 2010, including three shutouts. While many athletes have contributed to the cause, the coach was eager to discuss his starting safeties, who share similar qualities.
"Can you imagine if you have a good player and you can reproduce him?" asked Hanson, hinting at the potential for greatness. "Are you kidding me?"
Hanson’s words conjure thoughts of cloning a superior athlete. While the Patriots aren’t focused on scientific experiments, their talented twin defensive backs have caused opponents double the trouble.
Seniors Kyle Bailey and Kevin Bailey are the leaders of a Yorktown defense that has held all but one opponent — undefeated Centreville — to 16 points or fewer en route to the top of the district standings. The Patriots have a chance to clinch their first district championship since 2006 when they host Mount Vernon at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29. The Majors are 4-1 in the district one year after a winless 2009 season.
Listed at 6 feet 1 and 155 pounds (actually, Kevin Bailey is 156 pounds on the team’s roster), each of the Bailey twins also plays receiver on offense and returns kicks on special teams. Defensively, they are two of the team’s top tacklers. This week, they will lead Yorktown against a Mount Vernon team that operates primarily out of the I formation.
Hanson said Kevin Bailey and Kyle Bailey are performing on an "all-district, all-region" level.
"They’re the same guy," Hanson said. "You have two guys that are gifted and put them back at safety; it’s an unusual thing."
The Baileys say the special bond they share as twins translates onto the football field.
"We know each other so well," Kyle Bailey said. "If I bite on a route, [Kevin] knows to get right over the top. He’s right there to back me up. We play so well together."
Off the field, the brothers spend a lot of time around one another, discussing football and playing video games (Call of Duty is their favorite). Does it ever get to be too much?
"It’s just like finding a different person that has the same, exact personality as you, likes the same, exact things you do, likes to go out and have fun," Kevin Bailey said. "You would hang out with that person all the time."
Kyle and Kevin Bailey describe themselves as "identical," but junior quarterback Jordan Smith, a family friend, says he can tell them apart by their voices and a birthmark on Kyle’s face.
They have "a lot of energy, a lot of fire," Smith said. "They make big plays, big tackles and big stops for us. … They’re chill, they’re funny. I think they’re really good people."
Helping Kevin and Kyle Bailey on defense have been outside linebackers Maliek Wilson (senior) and David Bernhardt (senior), inside linebackers Austin Browne (junior) and Josh Bunche (junior) and linemen Mason Snider (junior), Nick White (junior), James Krech (senior) and Andrew Moyer (senior).
"Our defense has been playing tremendous," Hanson said. "We’ve been real happy with our defense."
Offensively, Hanson said he’s pleased with the way the Patriots have spread the ball around to multiple athletes. Smith, who received playing time as a sophomore, has passed for 958 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 702 yards and six scores. He passed for 231 yards and four touchdowns during a 39-13 win over Wakefield on Oct. 22.
"I feel like last year was more of a mental thing," Smith said. "I know where everyone is going to be now and I’m more relaxed. The game has slowed down."
Senior fullback Khalil Doles is a threat out of the backfield, while multiple players have emerged as pass-catching threats.
"A lot of years I’ve had one star," Hanson said. "I had [fullback and 2004 graduate] John Crone, he played for Richmond, [fullback and 2007 graduate] Max Milien that plays at UVa, [2007 graduate] Robbie Shivers was a good back. But this year we have a lot of guys that touch the ball every night. Khalil Doles had a 100-yard game last week. Jordan’s been running and passing. Andy Rockelli had the winning touchdown catch against Hayfield, David Bernhardt caught two touchdown passes against Wakefield. We’ve just got a lot of good" athletes.