Smashum to Smashum has been a familiar call for the last three years at Vista PEAK.
In fact, it’s been a call since identical twins Derrick and Daniel were six years old.
“For us, we have that trust,” Derrick Smashum said. “I’ve been throwing it to him so long, so I instantly know where he’s going to be just by instinct.”
Derrick threw for 40 touchdowns and ran for another seven as he amassed over 3500 yards in 2016.
“It’s almost like playing a video game with him sometimes,” Vista PEAK coach John Sullivan said. “He’s able to just make plays. If we would have let him run the ball more, he would have had even more rushing touchdowns. He’s just that dynamic of an athlete.”
Of those 40 touchdowns, eight were to Daniel.
“They’ve both been starting since their sophomore year, but as they’ve become more accustomed to our offense and working together, it’s pretty amazing how — just like you would think with receivers that work together all the time — there’s a sense of trust with the quarterback,” Sullivan said. “It just goes to another level with Derrick and Daniel. I always ask them, ‘Hey, what’s the other one thinking?’ It almost seems like they know.”
That trust has been built by being by eachother’s side for life. But, spending so much time together does take a toll.
“Sometimes on the field, we butt heads,” Derrick said. “If I miss him on a pass or something, he’ll let me know about it. And if he ran the route too deep, I’ll let him know.”
It has it’s rewards, too.
“After all the games, we talk about what we saw on the field and how we can fix it,” Daniel said. “No doubt that I have higher expectations for him since I’ve been on his team playing with him my whole life. I haven’t been playing with anybody else that long, so of course I’m harder on him.”
The high expectations and constant competition have worked out as both twins have had success on the field. Derrick and Daniel compete on just about anything from who can bench or squat the most to who’s faster.
That comparison is what pushes the two to be better.
“They’re really quiet kids. As most twins that I’ve dealt with, they’re used to being called the other one,” Sullivan said. “They kind of respond to anything. They have cool senses of humors with them and they’re super competitive — especially with eachother more than anything else.”
As for their positions, it was the right fit.
“I chose quarterback because I like to take the pressure of making big plays and slinging it around to everybody and making sure everybody is involved,” Derrick said. “If we lose, I don’t want it to be on anybody else. I want it to be on me.”
Daniel chose receiver in high school after playing running back throughout youth football because it fit the offensive scheme at Vista PEAK.
“I knew I could count on him to get tough yards,” Derrick said on Daniel’s ability at running back. “Now, since he’s playing receiver, I know I can count on him to beat a linebacker in man coverage and find the gaps in zones.”
Vista PEAK’s air attack saw Derrick sling the rock around at will as six different receivers recorded a touchdown.
“Where (Derrick) has really improved the last two years is his decision making,” Sullivan said. “Cutting down on turnovers. That, in turn, is going to help us be a successful offense.”
The high octane offense will be chugging along in the upcoming season as the Bison return all but Dylan Holt (11 TD, 647 yards).
“We’ve been really lucky the last few years because we’ve had a really dynamic set of receivers around Derrick. Teams can’t just focus on Daniel,” Sullivan said. “We’ll continue to stay as balanced as we possibly can. We don’t ask our quarterback to throw it to one kid, we look at matchups and primary receivers on particular plays.”
Junior JJ Augustus will be returning alongside Daniel after being the primary target last year with 13 touchdowns and 837 yards.
“Daniel has great hips,” Sullivan said. “Of all our receivers, he’s probably the one that can catch a screen pass and at any time be able to break it long.”
Daniel flashed his own talent at quarterback as well with two completions for two touchdowns last season.
It all goes back to being able to trust one another — building a bond that is stronger than simply teammates, stronger than simply brothers.
They’re both, and they’re dynamic because of that.
“They’re a very interesting couple there,” Sullivan said. “You can really sense through their quietness how much they care for eachother and love eachother. That twin bond is pretty amazing.”