Looking at Golden Valley High sophomores Jabari and Jamarcus Phillips, it would be hard to guess they are twins.
Jabari is listed at 5-foot-8, 164 pounds on the Cougars roster. Jamarcus is 5-11, 205.
“One is big and one is small,” said Golden Valley coach Rick Martinez. “You wouldn’t know they were brothers. They’re not always together. You wouldn’t know they were twins at all.”
The Phillips brothers are making a big impact as sophomores for the Cougars (1-1), who head to Bakersfield on Friday night to play Centennial.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Jamarcus says people often assume he’s the older brother because he’s bigger – but Jabari is a minute older.
They’re the second set of twins in their family; brother and sister Jaren and Jaden graduated from Golden Valley last year.
Jaren rushed for 1,391 yards and 10 touchdowns to help Golden Valley erase an 11-year playoff drought.
Jabari exploded in last week’s 42-6 win over Hoover with 253 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Helping pave the way was his twin brother Jamarcus playing on a young offensive line that the GV coaches are excited about. They’ve helped Jabari rush for 408 yards through two games.
“Just bringing me up as a sophomore was huge,” Jabari said. “I’ve got big shoes to fill with my older brother. I was just thankful that they moved me up. It’s up to me to prove that I’m worthy.”
The twins both say they are enjoying making the jump to varsity as sophomore together.
“It’s actually really cool,” Jamarcus said. “Sometimes you feel overshadowed, but it’s all worth it. I know my blocking will help my brother get recognition.”
When the Phillips twins were younger, it was Jamarcus who played running back. But he kept growing.
“It’s all those second plates growing up,” Jamarcus said. “I made sure to drink my milk.”
Sports have always been something the Phillips family has bonded over. They love watching football on Sunday with their grandmother. And more than sports, all the Phillips children had extracurricular activities they were involved in.
Jaren played football and Jaden was into dancing, acting and cheerleading. Their oldest sister Ja Leesa was in the Golden Valley band.
Both Jabari and Jamarcus have a track background. Jabari was a sprinter and Jamarcus a thrower for the Cougars on varsity as freshmen last spring.
Martinez’s son Ryan has been helping out as an assistant coach when he can. He played for his dad at Le Grand and in college at UC Davis. Ryan had some advice for Jabari last week when his work was done in the fourth quarter of the blowout, reminding him to thank his lineman for the job they did.
“Ryan has been there,” said Cougars offensive coordinator Raul Alvarez. “He’s played for coach (Mark) Speckman. He’s shown Jabari a lot about blocking, learning pre-snap reads, running. Ryan hasn’t been out here as much because he’s going to med school, but he’s made our first two games. Jabari has done a good job of carrying on what Ryan has taught him.”
The Phillips twins want to continue making their family proud and helping make Golden Valley a better team.
They get the opportunity to do it together.
“I love it. He’s my brother and I get to play with him. It’s such an honor to play with him,” Jabari said. “I love my brother. I love that he’s blocking for me.”
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