Culver City High School's Carter twins are not yet the double trouble that the McKeevers were in football or the Van Arsdales in basketball. But give them time.
Karlos and Kayton Carter, leading receivers on the Culver football team, are only juniors and are in their first year of varsity play. And they hope to star for the basketball team this season.
Their eventual aim is to be teammates in both football and basketball at a four-year college. As Kayton put it (or was that Karlos?), "We want to be among the first people who are popular in basketball and football."
The two wide receivers are already popular with Culver junior quarterback Frank Dolce. In distributing his passes, Dolce tossed about equally to each twin. That was the case at least before last week's 28-7 loss to Palmdale, which dropped Culver's record to 2-2-1 going into this week's Ocean League opener (at 7:30 p.m. Friday at North Torrance).
Almost Identical Receptions
Before the Palmdale game, the identical twins' pass catching statistics were nearly identical. Kayton (No. 5 for purposes of identification) had nine receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown, and Karlos (No. 6) had eight catches for 104 yards and one touchdown.
Last week Kayton forged ahead of his brother with two catches, including one for a 55-yard touchdown, while Karlos was credited with but one catch for six yards. That may be fitting: Kayton was born six minutes ahead of Karlos and is a half-step or so faster. Both have been hurdlers in track; Karlos (who, also competed as a high jumper) set a school record for freshman hurdlers, and Kayton won a league championship in hurdling with the junior varsity.
The twins' statistics for five games might not seem imposing, but it should be remembered that emphasizing the passing attack over the run is a brand-new concept at Culver City High, which has had some excellent runners during the past decade, including Ernie Saenz, John Garner and Carnell Lake. Dolce is also in his first season as varsity quarterback, his receivers are largely inexperienced, and he also divides up his throws among at least six players.
Said Culver Coach Fred Fuller, "We've been throwing to the wingbacks, to our ace-back, we even throw to the quarterback."
They're a Bit Different
The twins are not exactly identical. Both are listed at 6-0 in the team's programs, but Kayton's weight is given as 175 pounds and Karlos is listed at 180, though he said he weighs more like 177. Kayton's features look a little sharper than his twin's.
Kayton seems more outgoing. Though both are also both defensive ends, Kayton likes to play offense better and "it's only exciting to me when I have the ball." "I like defense; it's more exciting," said Karlos.
Kayton tried to explain the main difference between them in athletics. "I would say I try a lot harder; he goes with the flow."
Fuller said the Carters "have a lot of natural ability, good size, very good hands and very good coordination. There's not that much difference in their ability.
"We like to give them the ball outside on one-on-one situations. They have the ability to run when they catch the ball. They are tall and go up for the ball very well, like on the fade pattern when they go in the corner (of the end zone)."
Came From Georgia
The Carter family came to Los Angeles from Savannah, Ga., when the twins were in the fifth grade. The twins, 16, have an older brother, Tory, 18, who graduated from Culver High last June and was a wide receiver and defensive back, and a hurdler and high jumper in track.
The twins said Tory is working at the same firm as father Ray, a buyer and planner for a computer company, and is taking night classes at Santa Monica College. They said Tory looks enough like them for the brothers to be taken as triplets but that he weighs considerably less (150). They said Tory was known as "Stretch" on the football field because he has long arms and large hands and could catch any football in his vicinity, no matter how badly thrown.
The twins said that their mother Mattie used to dress them in the same kind of clothing until they were in the fourth or fifth grade, but it stopped about then because they weren't crazy about the practice.
Both seem serious-minded and say they have never tried to switch places with each other in the classroom. Karlos said people have suggested they play such pranks but that "it doesn't seem like fun to us."
Coach Puzzled at Times
They say they are close but not close enough to read each other's mind. "Sometimes we think on the same wavelength or do the same things," Karlos said. "He'll say something, and I'll say that I knew what he was going to say."
"Sometimes we'll finish a sentence the other has started," Kayton added.
They are close enough in looks that Fuller can't tell who is who when he sees them face-to-face. But the coach said no one mixes them up on the football field.
"There is no way to mix them up in the offense. We play two splits, and what one does when a play goes one way, the other does when it goes the opposite way. If one is out of the game, we can switch the other to that position because we don't use the a flanker and split end, the pro set, like a lot of people do.
"They are nice, intelligent kids who love to play the game. I think next year they might be two of the better receivers in the area.
"They are also good defensive players and have both started every game at defensive end. We want our defensive ends to be quick, and they are. We want them to contain whatever comes at them, or at least turn the play inside, squeeze it down. It's very difficult to get outside of them."