Stephanus pair helping ’Dogs continue their offensive roll
Twins enjoying the winning tradition at Palisade
Traditionally, Palisade High School loves to run the football.
This year is no exception. The Bulldogs have racked up more than 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground in their first four games.
And although Palisade running backs Travis Fehlman, Aaron Wagler, Zach Adair and Jesse Brannon have done a good job running the ball, a lot of credit must go to the Bulldogs’ offensive linemen.
The line lost three seniors to graduation, but the current group has bonded together like brothers.
That task was a lot easier to do, because the guards actually are brothers.
Nick and Nate Stephanus are twins who are playing left (Nate) and right (Nick) guard for the undefeated Bulldogs.
“The camaraderie is about the same with us, but it is always nice to be able to go home and have someone to talk about the team with,” said Nick, the older brother by 30 minutes. “With Nate, I know who I am working with on the line.”
Playing offensive line is still relatively new to the brothers, who were running backs before reaching the varsity level.
“We are focusing on our new positions because we started out as skinny kids who were running backs and linebackers,” Nick said.
Since moving to the line, the brothers have worked hard to bulk up and add strength during weight room workouts. Normally, there would be more competition between twins to see who could lift more.
The juniors say that isn’t the case.
“We don’t compete to out-lift each other, but if we are working on a lift, we will make sure to push each other so that we both finish it,” Nate said.
This season is Nick’s first opportunity to play with his brother at the varsity level. Last year, a broken arm forced him to miss the entire season.
Nate started at guard last season and this year has continued to improve.
“Nate is a real asset for us on the line,” Nick said. “He is a great guard and has a lot of speed.”
Nick replaced Mike Elder, who graduated, and is also a starter on the defensive line. He is the bigger of the two brothers at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. Nate is 5-11, 170.
“Nick is good, strong and fast,” Nate said. “But he thinks a lot. Coach (John Arledge) will tell us what to do and he will over-think it.”
The brothers are fraternal twins. It’s easy to tell they’re related, but you can tell who is who.
Unlike identical twins, the Stephanus brothers don’t share many personality traits. Arledge said they each have their own unique disposition.
“They are totally different kids,” Arledge said. “Nick is more vocal and outgoing and Nate is more introverted and quiet. Both are excellent students and wonderful kids to coach. They live here in Palisade, so they are either picking peaches or running to football practice.”
What about the twins as players?
“Nate is a little bit meaner,” Arledge said. “Nick is more cognitive, having to think of everything. You can tell they are brothers, but there is a lot that makes them different.”
So the twins don’t really look alike, act alike or play alike, but they can always agree on one thing: Winning at Palisade.
“That tradition it is definitely on you,” Nick said. “You have to win here.”