Gorman: Allderdice twins spell double trouble in City
Jerry Haslett trusted his eyes while watching the Jackson twins playing varsity basketball at Allderdice as freshmen.
But the Dragons football coach couldn't believe what his ears were hearing.
“Everybody and their mother was telling me, ‘Coach, those boys aren't as good in basketball as they are in football. You should see them,' ” Haslett said. “They said people all over the city knew about them in midget football. That's how phenomenal they'd been.”
In their first season of high school football, identical twins James and Timothy Jackson have become City League phenoms.
James, older by 21 minutes, is a quarterback who has passed for 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns.
“When he drops back to throw the ball, you can tell he's a quarterback,” Haslett said. “He could probably play anywhere he wanted.”
Timothy, who claims he's an inch taller at 6-foot-1, 155 pounds, is James' favorite receiver and is averaging 34.6 yards on his 19 catches.
“He's fast,” Haslett said. “He gets behind people and they don't know it.”
If Haslett can hardly contain his excitement, it's because the Jackson twins give Allderdice a shot at winning the City League football championship. And Allderdice hasn't won a City championship since 1967.
That's the longest drought of any City school — open or closed — and one the Dragons hope to end.
“We can do it,” James said. “It's a goal.”
Where USO — the co-op between University Prep, Science & Technology and Obama Academy — is the favorite, the Jacksons are the stars of a special sophomore class that gives Allderdice hope for the future.
The twins, who are from Wilkinsburg but now reside in Highland Park, are not only inseparable but have an intuition for each other.
“I really can't describe it,” James said, “but there's a special bond.”
Want evidence? Five of James' scoring passes this season are to Timothy.
“Whenever there's a big play that needs to be made, he gives it to me,” Timothy said. “It's a big advantage. He just knows where I'm at on the field.”
Their favorite play came last week against Brashear, when they hooked up for a 39-yard touchdown with 42 seconds left in the 23-18 win.
Allderdice has to play Brashear again Thursday in the City League semifinals and is expecting an encore.
Where the Dragons are doubling their pleasure, to the rest of the City, the Jacksons are twice the trouble.