London column: Barbers a cut above for War Eagles
MOCKSVILLE ó All kidding aside, both Barbers made the cut this year.
Davie County twins Jared and Jacob Barker won’t turn 16 until late October, but they’ve been regarded as serious phenoms since they were at South Davie Middle School.
As a freshman, Jared started at linebacker on the varsity, tackled most of the world and made the All-CPC team.
Schools such as Notre Dame have already been down to talk to the wide-eyed youngster. Coaches had studied him on film, but they wanted to eyeball him in person.
Jacob is primarily a quarterback, but Davie had two veterans, including East-West signal-caller Garrett Benge manning the position in 2007, so Jacob spent his freshman year on the jayvees.
Plans for 2008 have Jacob serving as the backup varsity QB, as well as a backup running back and receiver.
Both brothers like this arrangement better.
“Last year was different,” Jacob said. “Ever since Little League we’ve been on the same team. It was the first time we’ve ever been talking about ‘the game’ and it wasn’t the same game.”
Jacob, 5-foot-11, 185, also excels as a baseball catcher, while Jared is already one of the state’s top wrestlers. He hit the mat at 189 as a freshman, but he’ll check in at 6-1, 200 this football season.
Jared, the veteran, has already welcomed Jacob to the varsity. He folded him up Friday with a ferocious hit.
“We were joking around before we went out there,” Jared said with a grin. “He was saying he was gonna run over me, and I was telling him how I was gonna hit him. Well, I hit him.”
Twins will be twins, after all ó and only Jacob’s pride was hurt.
Coaches kept straight faces and deadpanned, “Nice hit,” while Jared got in a “Welcome to the varsity!” dig at his battered brother.
“Yeah, he stuck me pretty good,” Jacob admitted. “And it’s hard to get him back with him on defense and me on offense.
“Maybe a cheap shot,” he added with a smile.
Neither sibling had any trouble recalling their most recent altercation.
“I’m not a receiver at all, but I was trying to help him out by running some pass routes,” Jared explained sheepishly. “OK, I ran the wrong route. He got mad. He said something. We started yelling, and then we got into it out there on the practice field.”
Twins will be twins, after all.
As competitive as the twins are, their older brother Adam “Beefcake” Barber, a former War Eagle, insists they’re far more supportive than competitive with one another.
That’s a reason Jared pursued wrestling while Jacob chose baseball.
Adam pushes his brothers, but he’s also the guy who keeps them grounded and reminds them there’s always someone in the next town, or the next state, that’s better than they are.
But he’s also a fan.
“When the twins were in fourth grade, I noticed they were a little faster and stronger than the other kids,” Adam said. “But I didn’t really think much of it until they got to middle school and dominated.
“They’re different. Jared lives sports 24/7, he’s extremely competitive, and the more people tell him he can’t really be that good, well, the more determined he is to be to be that good.
“Jacob’s not quite as much of a go-getter in that he doesn’t think about sports all week long, but when he puts on that catcher’s gear or puts on that football helmet and the lights come on, he’s just as competitive as his brother.”
When the twins were separated last year by positional needs, Jared got the opportunity to shine first and made the most of it.
Well-prepared by Davie coaches and aided by the team’s veterans, he was terrific from the get-go. Davie opened with Watauga and preseason state player of the year Eric Breitenstein, and Jared more than held his own.
“I was apprehensive opening night,” Adam said. “I’m thinking that Jared is 14 years old and Watauga has these 300-pound linemen out there. But Jared goes down and makes the hit on the opening kickoff, and I start thinking maybe he’s going to be OK.”
Davie defensive coordinator Devore Holman was confident Jared could be something special, but he reserved judgment until he watched him perform in front of packed crowds on Fridays.
“The job Jared did for us at linebacker as a freshman was really nice,” Holman said. “The pace of the game changes from jayvee to varsity, so you can imagine how it must have changed for him from middle school to varsity.
“We’ve been blessed with great linebackers during my time here, and at this stage of the game, beginning of his sophomore year, he has already put himself amongst those guys. He has the gifts, but what he has to do now is to work on those gifts ó on the field and in the classroom. If he does, there’s no telling where he can go.”
While Jared was thriving on Fridays, Jacob was performing in relative anonymity on Thursdays.
That put a strain on both twins, but both had perfect attendance at all of their sibling’s games.
“Jared would always say, ‘Hey, Jacob, let’s go throw,’ ” Adam said. “There was never any, ‘I’m varsity and you’re jayvee’ stuff.”Now reunited, both twins are smiling a lot. It’s just like the old days.
“We’ve always helped each other,” Jared said. “It’s great to be on Jacob’s team again.”