OLIVE HILL West Carter twins Ethan and Tristen Jordan thrive on the physicality of football.

As sophomores last season, Ethan led the Comets with 36 solo stops and 160 total tackles —  closely followed by Tristen’s 144.

“Football’s what I like doing,” Tristen said during the team’s photo day this week. “Growing up, we always wrestled for fun. We’ve always been aggressive you could say.”

From West Carter head coach Daniel Barker’s perspective, the mirror-image linebackers are strong, tenacious and a blast to both coach and watch.

“Two of the toughest kids you would ever want to meet,” Barker said. “Great kids and extremely blue-collar.”

Away from school and the football field, neither brother is likely to be found sitting around.

“They go home and do farm work, odd jobs, whatever,” Barker said. “They can repair vehicles, work construction. They did some concrete this summer ... very handy. I think their dad’s taught them whatever it is that’s a machine.”

Brian Jordan also works the chains during West Carter home games.

Ethan and Tristen knew all about Comets football before pulling on a maroon jersey. As middle schoolers, they stood on the sideline as older brother William earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Eastern Kentucky Conference from his end position.

“He’s helped us a lot,” Tristen said.

Now it’s the twins who are building a reputation for wreaking some havoc defensively.

“They love hitting,” said West Carter senior quarterback Christian Rivers, who was a freshman during William’s senior year. “I don’t know what it is. It’s in their blood.

“They’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, too. They would give you the shirt off their backs.”

Both juniors are listed at 5-foot-9 and in the 180-pound range, though Ethan said he was considerably lighter after the Comets wrapped up team camp recently.

Tristen and Ethan stepped into starting roles as freshmen. Last season, they lined up both ways and also played on every speciality team.

“You have to drag them off the field,” Barker said. “They never ask for a break.”

Naturally, kickoff coverage is a favorite with the Jordans.

“You get to run down the field and hit somebody,” Ethan said.

Both players pride themselves on toughness, even when injuries are involved.

“Ethan got a stinger in the East Carter game (last season),” Barker said. “Right away, Tristen was giving him down the road saying, ‘You’re not hurt. We don’t do that.’ Ethan had to come out for a play or two, but was determined to get back. He was like, ‘My brother called me out.’”

The Jordans lead by example but are becoming a little more vocal heading into their third varsity season, according to Barker.

Last year, they started on the offensive line. With improved depth up front this season, West Carter instead has a couple of packages to utilize them as blocking backs. Tristen will wear jersey No. 1, while Ethan has No. 2.

“They’re really good lifters in the weight room and have put on a lot of muscle,” their head coach said.

Barker said the twins love the defensive challenge of taking on isolation plays, where the running back follows a lead blocker.

“They know their keys and play their keys,” Barker said. “They are always going to be as physical as possible. They are real close with our linebacker coach, Charlie P’Simer. We always joke he’s going to cry when they leave. We all probably will.”

Tristen said it’s fun competing with his brother for tackles, but their focus is on getting the Comets back to the playoffs again.

“Even with all the tackles they had last year, they never look at themselves as the stars or anything like that,” Barker said. “They are just kids out there enjoying the game.”

Senior Trey Bond joins them in a strong linebacking unit as the Comets look to make strides in their run defense.

Barker was promoted to head coach this season after Kevin Brown’s retirement. West Carter opens the season Aug. 24 at Powell County.     

“I want to thank coach Brown for leaving us in good hands,” Tristen Jordan said.  

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rstanley@dailyindependent.com