The Lopez Twins

From left, Taft High 7-12 juniors Skyler and Tyler Lopez have shown leadership qualities on and off the football field, basketball court and baseball field for the Tigers.

Taft High principal Scott Reed remembers a day two years ago when a couple of look-alikes stepped into his office and plopped a $20 bill on his desk.

"Somebody dropped this," the twin freshmen, then 14, said.

"They'd found $20 in their weightlifting class and wanted to make sure the owner got it back," Reed said. "Most kids would have just pocketed it, but they came and said, ‘Hey, somebody lost this.' It's a pretty amazing deal that a couple of kids who don't have every advantage would do that."

Told of Reed's memories of the fuzzy-cheeked boys returning the cash, Taft basketball coach Mark Williams said: "That doesn't surprise me at all. That's what I'd expect from them."

Meet Skyler and Tyler Lopez, 16-year-old, multi-sport stars on the Tigers' football, baseball and basketball teams who perform in and out of the classroom as successfully and steadfastly as they do in whatever sport they're competing in.

"They have a lot of character and they show it in school and in all of their athletic teams. They are leaders," Reed said.

Fraternal twins, though nearly identical in appearance, Skyler and Tyler are hardly mirror images of one another.

What they are, those who know them say, are genuinely sincere brothers who have developed reputations in the Taft High community as being examples on how to conduct yourself behind classroom doors and beyond. Born March 10, 1995, in Portland, their comportment is exemplary, close friends, mere acquaintances and figures of authority will tell you.

"Whenever the school needs anything, they step up," Reed said. "They have always given a lot to the school."

While they may look alike, they're quite different in nature with distinct personalities. Skyler's more outgoing and accessible; Tyler more serious and subdued.

"Skyler's an extrovert, while Tyler is more introverted," Reed said.

Williams, who has the tough assignment of telling the brothers apart in the heat of action, says Tyler is a tad tougher and Skyler a bit more personable - a feeling shared by most everyone who knows them.

"Tyler's just got a tough-guy mentality, while Skyler's a little more fun-loving," he said. "That's not to say that Skyler isn't tough or that Tyler isn't fun. It's just that they go a little more in that direction."

Being twins with diverse personalities is evident in their own words and actions.

"I love being a twin," Skyler said. "An advantage is that no matter what, you will always have a best friend there for you. In my case, since we look so alike, when we get older and I miss my brother all I have to do is look in the mirror and he is there."

The brothers also have shown they are fiercely loyal, energetic and willing to please and contribute in whatever endeavor they undertake.

"They show up for practice every day. They show up for every team function," Williams said. "They're always in a good mood. There are never, ever any issues with them."

The Lopez brothers have resided in Lincoln City their entire lives. Their father, Manny, a youth league football coach, is a maintenance man at Chinook Winds Casino Resort, where their mother, Tina Monger, is an administrative assistant. They have an older sister, 21-year-old Lexxie.

Skyler's favorite sport is baseball; Tyler's is football.

Skyler's favorite subject is history; Tyler's is student enterprise.

Tyler and his best friend, Joe Furlan, took the class together before Joe died following heart surgery in mid-December. Furlan stocked the school's vending machine. Tyler displayed the kind of loyalty he says he got from his parents to his friend and his school by assuming Furlan's stocking duties.

"He took pride in it, so I'm taking care of it for him," he said.

Determined to go to college but undecided on where, Skyler aspires to be a sports broadcaster, trainer or coach. Tyler wants to pursue a career in law enforcement.

"They're motivated to go to school and make a difference in the world," Reed said.

Asked to share a story or two of mistaken identity, the brothers, who some joke are cloned, have a couple they relate in regard to confusing teachers and coaches. Skyler tells of the time recently when Williams called for him off the bench.

"‘Go in for Skyler,"‘ he said. "I looked at him with the most confused look and said ‘Coach, I am Skyler."‘

Or, as Tyler says, "They tell me to go into the game for myself. This year, Coach Williams took almost a whole timeout explaining to my brother what to do when he wasn't even in the game."

During their sophomore year, Skyler passed himself off as his brother in a chemistry class with the same teacher while wearing the same clothes he had on the period earlier.

"My brother didn't feel like going, so, being the good brother I am, I decided to go for him," Skyler said. "There is a bunch of confusion between us. Unless people have known us for at least five years, I would say they couldn't tell us apart."

An unwritten rule for twins dictates that the oldest has certain advantages, they said.

"This affects a lot of things," said Skyler, who is 40 minutes older. "I have the bragging rights forever."

"It affects me a lot," Tyler, the Tigers' starting quarterback last fall before breaking his hand, admitted. "Just because he is older, he thinks he is more grown up, which isn't true, but he is the boss."

And, the funny one, Skyler says.

"There are times where I have put people to sleep from talking so much," he said. "And, to be honest, I've made people pee themselves from making them laugh so hard."

Humor is a quality Tyler readily recognizes in his "older" brother.

"Being hilarious and being so nice to everyone," Tyler said of his brother's most obvious traits.

And, what does Skyler think of Tyler?

"His best trait is being a friend," he said. "He has anyone of his friends' backs and knows how to cheer them up or be there when they need it."

Manny Lopez offers a perspective only a father can.

"The strongest traits these kids have is determination," he said. "They never give up. We try our best to teach them respect and to stand up for themselves."

It's a lesson not lost on Tyler.

"Being honest with people and not taking crap from anyone," he considers among his main traits. "I am straight up with people, whether they like it or not. In my mind, it will help them later in life if I'm honest with them."

Inspired most by their mother and father, the boys praise their parents for their hard work in raising twins and the support and advice they have provided. Mom and dad are easily spotted at almost all of their games.

"Raising twins has been quite the experience," Manny said. "We just try and be there for them and support them in whatever they choose to do."

The brothers have made lasting impressions and greatly impacted each other, too.

"[Skyler] has always been there for me and taught me how to have patience and not let other people judge you for stupid stuff you do or decisions you make in life," Tyler said.

And, what would Skyler say to his brother?

"I would say thank you," he said. "Thank you for always being there and being the best brother he possibly could be."

Establishing themselves as individuals when they go their own way after high school is the Lopez brothers' next - and perhaps most important - task, their father said.

"We're still working on the independent part," he said. "That one I don't think we will ever truly accomplish. There is a bond there that will never be broken."

 

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(1) comment

BSUBeachBum

I have watched these boys grow up being a close friend with their sister, I am so proud of Skyler and Tyler! They have come from a great family that I am honored to know and be close friends with. They both will go amazing places.

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