Talk about double trouble.
The Wagner twins — juniors Ben and Colby — have been dual threats at multiple positions for Manheim Central’s undefeated football team this fall.
They are twin terrors with comparable accomplishments.
On offense, the wideouts have been key cogs in the Barons’ passing attack; Ben has 12 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown, and Colby has 11 grabs for 271 yards with four TD receptions. They’re each averaging 19-plus yards per catch, and they’ve become reliable targets for classmate Evan Simon, a Division I blue-chip quarterback.
On defense, from their cover corner spots, the Wagners have combined for 35 tackles in the secondary. Colby returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown last Friday in the Barons’ win over Garden Spot.
They’ve both also contributed mightily in special teams: Colby is a rugby-style punter who averages a hefty 41.9 yards per boot. He also returned a punt 71 yards for a TD last Friday against Garden Spot.
“It was pretty cool watching him return that punt,” said Ben, who returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD on Oct. 5 in a win over Lampeter-Strasburg. “I was excited for him.”
In that game against L-S, Ben and Colby each had an interception in Central’s victory.
“That was pretty awesome,” Colby said. “Two twins getting a pick in the same game. We try and push each other to be better. We’re always helping each other.”
Twin brotherly love, as it were. For the record, Ben is 39 minutes older. And they grew up in Central’s program, salivating to get their chance under the lights on a Friday night, wearing the Barons’ familiar maroon and gray uniforms.
Their time is now, and the Wagners are taking full advantage, getting on the field in all three phases of the game, making these twins triple trouble.
“They do beat to a different drum — in a good way, of course,” Central coach Dave Hahn said. “They have the athleticism to make a lot of things happen.”
Which is why the Wagners have excelled in special teams, a staple in Central’s arsenal over the years.
“On special teams, it takes all 11 guys, and we’re starting to come into our own there,” Hahn said. “With kids like (Ben and Colby), they can take us to the next level.”
Which is scary, considering Central’s annual penchant for special teams.
“I know I like being on the field at all times,” Ben said, “and being able to contribute on both sides of the ball, and special teams.”
The Wagners won’t wow you with a ton of size. They’re both wiry and athletic, with plenty of speed to burn. They are, as football folks in the know in our neck of the woods like to say, “Manheim Kids.”
“They play bigger than they are,” Hahn said. “They’re self made, because they work so hard in the weight room. They’re very talented in the weight room, and they can do a lot of things with their bodies on the field; they can really move. They both have explosive speed.”
They’ve both flashed their speedy wheels all over the field so far this season, as the Barons are off to a 9-0 start, and they’ve clinched no worse than a tie for their 25th Section Two championship. Central can win the title outright on Friday with a win at home against Solanco.
That was part of the draw to the program for Ben and Colby when they were growing up: The Barons’ winning tradition.
“It’s awesome,” Colby said. “When we started playing in Midgets, you start looking up to the high school players. I know we wanted to be like them one day, and now it’s finally here. They teach us more than football here. We’re a big family. Brothers. We’re working together to achieve our goals. It’s really a dream come true to be playing here. We’re following in the footsteps of so many great players. The expectations are high, but I like that challenge.”
Bigger challenges are coming right around the corner for the Barons. A win Friday, and Central not only locks up another outright section crown, but the Barons would be in excellent shape to snag the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District Three Class 5A playoffs, where Central will be out to defend its title.
That means more bull’s-eyes.
And you know the Barons would love a fourth trip to the PIAA finals.
“There is a lot of pressure here because of our past,” Ben said. “We’ve had a lot of great teams here. Now it’s up to us to keep working hard so we can be the best team that we can be.”
With Ben and Colby Wagner and their multi-purpose skills on board, this Central team certainly has the potential to make this yet another memorable season in Manheim.