Sometimes two is better than one. In the case of Nipomo High’s football team, sometimes four is better than two.
The Titans’ starting lineup presents an unusual twist — two sets of twins.
Identical twins Jose and Elias Guzman are positioned next to each other as starters on the right side of the offensive line.
When the Guzmans transferred from St. Joseph last year, they joined fraternal twins John Renner, a linebacker, and Michael Renner, an offensive lineman.
The Renners also will suit up as starters for tonight’s game at home against Templeton at 7 p.m.
All four players have a goal of making the Los Padres League’s all-league team this year.
Michael Renner was named to the second team all-LPL last year.
“This is the first set of twins I’ve ever seen on a team,” Nipomo coach Russ Edwards said. “They’re all good contributors. They’re all good players. If there are any other twins like them out there, I’d say, ‘Come on down.’ ”
Jose Guzman is listed at 6 feet and 270 pounds while his brother Elias Guzman is 6-2 and 280. They can’t explain the height difference. Elias just grew bigger.
The Renner twins both stand 5-9, but John weighs 195 and Michael is 220 pounds. That discrepancy can be explained.
John Renner wants to stay light on his feet for quick bursts to make tackles and interceptions as a linebacker, so he monitors his diet and works on his foot speed.
Michael Renner has intentionally bulked up in the weight room to give himself a solid frame to protect the quarterback.
“When it comes to eating, I’ll go back for seconds,” Michael Renner said with a smile.
On the field, the Guzman twins say they have a kind of telepathic communication.
They sometimes read the same defensive formation and rarely have to say much to communicate their thoughts.
Joined at the shoulders, the Guzmans form a wall on the right side as Jose mans guard and Elias lines up at tackle.
“Sometimes we can tell what the other one is thinking about something even before they say it,” Elias Guzman said. “We find the same jokes funny. We notice the same things. In football, we sometimes see the same things and we hardly even have to say it out loud. Maybe just a word or two.”
Like for many siblings, a competitive spirit exists for the Renner twins.
They wrestle at home to the chagrin of their mother, who fears they’ll break something.
And in the weight room, it’s about who can lift the most. And they do just fine in that category — both clearing 300 pounds in bench press, which ranks them at the top of the team.
“If one of the Renners sees that the other got accolades for weightlifting, you’ll see the other in the weight room working hard to get on the same chart,” Edwards said.
And like with their size discrepancies, the twins also have unique personalities.
Michael is quiet and dedicated while John is more of a prankster off the field, though he’s serious about excelling between the lines.
“Sometimes you have to keep it light out there in practice,” John Renner said. “I try to make the coaches crack a smile sometimes because it keeps everyone loose.”
The football bloodline for the Guzmans and Renners extends from dedicated parents who volunteer with the team.
The Guzmans’ father, Jose Guzman, films game footage from the sideline for the team to be able to evaluate afterwards.
And Nicolle Renner, the Renners’ mother, helps out with team activities and coordinating events.
The twins say they have talked to each other about similar life experiences.
Both pairs don’t like it when clothes are borrowed, for example. And the Renners sometimes have pretended to be the other twin.
“We don’t do that much, but I’ve sat in a class before for John just to see how long it takes for someone to notice it’s me and not him,” Michael Renner said.
Perhaps for opposing players, it might seem like the same guy is coming at them from multiple angles. But the twins don’t believe teams game plan for them any differently than they might if they weren’t twins.
Nipomo has started the season 1-3. But they’ve played a tough preseason schedule against ranked teams in Arroyo Grande and Nordhoff. The Titans have a lot of hope for their chances in league.
They believe that after a 2-8 season last year and a 4-6 year in 2011, this could be a turnaround season.
“People from Arroyo Grande will say our school sucks,” John Renner said. “We want to prove to people that we’re not a bad team. We want to show them that we have talent.”