Though it might seem like it at times, the Ferndale defense won't be seeing double on Friday, Sept. 28, when it hosts Squalicum in a showdown of Northwest Conference 2A/3A unbeatens.
There actually will be two Webers on the field.
The Golden Eagles likely already know about junior running back Luke Weber, who stands third in the Northwest Conference with 503 yards and nine touchdowns through the first four weeks of the season.
But joining him for the first time will be twin brother Danny, who moved to Hawaii with his father last year and, after returning this year, just got in enough practices to be eligible at Squalicum this week.
"I'm so excited," Luke said in a phone interview. "He hasn't played since eighth grade because of injuries, so this is a big, big deal for him. I know he's excited, and so am I."
Danny likely will see some time at receiver and in a few positions on defense for the Storm, said coach Reed Richardson, who called the team's latest addition "just another tremendous athlete for us to get on the field."
While Luke actually has a real-life twin brother, he'll get the chance to watch somebody who closely resembles him on the field on Friday in Ferndale senior running back Alex Conley.
Though Conley gives up 4 inches to the 6-foot Weber and owns one more year of experience and 25 pounds on the 170-pound back, the two have very similar running styles.
Even their production has been similar this year, as Conley stands second in the conference with 594 yards and 14 TDs, though the Ferndale back is averaging 5.4 more yards per carry (11.4) than Weber (6.0).
"Conley is really hard to tackle," Richardson said in a phone interview. "I'm watching film of him run, and I'm seeing guys bouncing off him. He's a tough, strong kid. He's fast - he's not blazing, but he'll speed right by you. But, man, is he hard to tackle. I don't think I've seen the first guy on the play bring him down."
The good news for Richardson and the Storm is Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich probably has been sweating bringing down Weber almost as much this week.
"I hope Luke is that good," Richardson said. "I think Luke is a very similar kind of runner. You watch him, and guys really struggle to bring him down, too. ... He just runs the ball hard. He runs downhill and he runs hard. He's so powerful and strong, it makes it tough to tackle."
Weber says he's been running with that physical style as long as he can remember.
"I've always had good coaches since I was young who talked about playing as hard as you can," he said. "They told me to keep driving my feet and playing as hard as you can until the play is done. ... It feels good to run like that - to keep going. It makes you want to keep pounding it harder and harder."
It also makes Squalicum's talented offensive front want to block even harder for him.
"Our O-line loves him," Richardson said. "We have a veteran line, and they're really smart - a couple of them have 3.8 GPAs and above. They love him. They know what they're going to get. They know he's not going to be wussing out on any play. If they get him a hole, he can make it count."
Inspiring his teammates to play at his level has never been a problem for Weber, Richardson said, as he's always been a great leader by example.
But after Weber led the team with 925 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns last year as a sophomore, his coach has seen him add a vocal element to his leadership abilities. In fact, Richardson said Weber is "the leader" on what is still a relatively young Squalicum offense, at least at the skill positions.
"Coach talked to me during the off season and told me 'Next year we need you to be a little bit more vocal,'" Weber said. "When the team needs me, I try to get them pumped up and get them going. ... I'm not a guy that talks a lot, but when the situation presents itself, I now feel comfortable stepping up and saying what needs to be said."
Weber now is a nice complement on offense to vocal senior linebacker Sam Olney, who leads the Squalicum defense.
"Our leadership is better than it's ever been," Richardson said. "I remember in that Sedro-Woolley game (on Sept. 14) when they scored to put us down, I went up to Luke and said after we score, we're going to go for two points (and the win). I just remember Luke looking me in the eye and he said, 'Oh, we're scoring, Coach.' He believed it. Then he went out and made the other guys believe it, and he ran hard and helped us do it. That's the type of leadership you need to be successful."
Weber scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to cap off a 131-yard, four-touchdown night, and Squalicum converted the 2-point conversion to get the 29-28 win.
Three weeks later, the Storm finds itself tied atop the standings with that win over Sedro-Woolley and a 22-point win over Bellingham a week later in its first two NWC 2A/3A games of the season.
Now Squalicum faces its biggest challenge of the season so far when it travels to Ferndale.
"I think we've all worked really hard during the off season, and we all have confidence in each other," Weber said. "My teammates trust that I'm going to run the ball hard, just like I have trust that they're going to do their jobs. ... It's really exciting. The energy level in practice this week has really been up. Everybody is excited to be a part of a game like this where there are so many expectations."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
WEBER WINS WEEKLY AWARD
Squalicum's Luke Weber was selected the Week 4 Football Player of the Week in an online poll by readers at TheBellinghamHerald.com.
Weber received 72.9 percent (35) of the 48 votes cast to beat out Ferndale's Hank Hilts and Bellingham's Justin Pruett.
Be sure to check out Saturday's and Sunday's Sports sections in The Bellingham Herald for all the Week 5 action and cast your vote for the Football Player of the Week at TheBellinghamHerald.com/highschools.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.