Twin brothers Daniel and Marcos Hernandez have been a major force for the Century football team

If you have attended any Century football games this season and found yourself thinking that there had to be more than one Hernandez out on the field, as it turns out, you were right. by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Twin brothers Daniel (left) and Marcos Hernandez (right) have both been integral pieces of the Century football team, and they hope to help the Jags return to the state playoffs.

As key playmakers for the Jaguars on both sides of the ball, twin brothers Daniel and Marcos Hernandez have had opponents seeing double this season. They have been pillars on a team that began the season with four consecutive losses but has been gaining traction over the course of the fall and is in contention to host a Class 6A play-in game next week.

All along the way, they’ve been doing it with class, tenacity and smarts.

“They are incredible young men,” Century coach Bill Smith said about his senior stars. “They’re very respectful, they’re very intelligent, but we have a number of kids on our team like that. These guys are identical twins. That’s kind of a unique thing.”

The twins — they do strongly resemble one another and one of them used the term “semi-identical” — are highly talented players in their own right who excel despite their somewhat slight stature. Both are listed at 5-foot-8 and weigh about 160 pounds.

“The old saying, ‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,’ applies to both those kids,” Smith said.

Their talent gets maximized on the field because they play different positions. Marcos was a first team all-conference free safety last season but moved to quarterback this year after all-stater Sam Riddle graduated in the spring. Daniel made the league second team at outside linebacker in 2012 and also plays running back.

“It was tough in the beginning of the season because I didn’t really have the reads, because everything was faster than JV and varsity was just another level,” Marcos said about the transition to quarterback. “And then once you’re there, you’re in the zone, then you know what’s going on. You can just pick apart the defense.”

Originally, Marcos was expected to play only offense this season. But an injury to another player recently resulted in some lineup shuffling on defense, reuniting Marcos with his brother in the Jaguars’ secondary the past couple of games.

That comes as a detriment to Century’s opponents, of course.

“We know what we were going to do,” Daniel said. “I know he’s going to stop the plays if anything happens. He’s like the last resort, he stops it. On offense, I know we’re both going to make plays because we’re both out there, both try to be playmakers.”

Amazingly, last season, Century had even more Hernandez brothers on the field. Marcos and Daniel’s older brother, Juan, was a senior outside linebacker on that team, and the three brothers roamed the secondary, earning the moniker “the Hernandi Triangle,” since they lined up in a triangular formation.

Smith said they even had a trick play called the “Hernandi Special” set up in which all three brothers would touch the ball on a double reverse. Sadly, they never ran it in a game.

Born 47 minutes apart and raised in Hillsboro, the twins started playing football in sixth grade, following in Juan’s footsteps. They’ve been going ever since and had their fingerprints on Century’s second-round playoff team in 2012.

The twins are two of few holdovers from that squad. This year, the team’s 2-6 overall and 2-4 Pacific Conference records belie how good the Jaguars actually have been. Four of their six defeats were by a total of 10 points, and they knocked off second-place Glencoe, 33-17, two weeks ago.

“Those close losses, all those were, were mental mistakes, and at practice we just fine tuned them, and we just got better and keep improving from there,” Marcos said.

Against the Crimson Tide, both brothers were at their best. Each noted the other’s performance as a career highlight, and it’s easy to see why: Marcos rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 62 yards and a score. Daniel ran for 115 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 25 yards, and recorded four total tackles.

In addition to being skilled football players, both boys are successful students — Marcos has a 3.79 grade point average, while Daniel’s is 3.98. Both have their sights set on college, where they may continue their football careers.

Before that, though, they have some high school ball still to play. Tonight, Century travels to McMinnville. A win against the Grizzlies and some help from other teams could bump Century as high as a tie for fourth place in the league. Hosting a play-in game next week would give the Hernandi at least one more game at Hillsboro Stadium.

“It’s pretty crazy how the time’s gone by, how we’ve been playing with each other for so long,” Daniel said. “It hasn’t hit me yet that this is going to be our last full season playing with each other. It’s going to be sad when it’s over.”

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