Jovan uses red and Ryan uses blue.
Mouthpiece color is the easiest way to differentiate the Camacho twins.
“I still have a hard time telling them apart,” said West Ranch coach Chris Varner. “Their mouthpiece, that’s the only way you can tell them apart. And they play the same position, so that doesn’t make it any easier.”
The sophomore tandem is poised to be at the root of a Wildcats turnaround this year both at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield.
Ryan is slated to start at corner, and Jovan at corner and wideout.
“Last year we were doing freshman and JV both Thursday and Friday,” Jovan said. “This year it’ll be pretty cool to play under the lights on Fridays with the rest of my friends.”
Both said the transition to varsity was a little intimidating at times, particularly when it came to getting to know their new coaches and teammates, but Varner recognized their talent from the moment they stepped onto his field.
“They’re not small by any means, but they play like they’re 2 inches taller and two tenths of a second faster than they really are. They have very strong competitive drive,” he said.
“It takes a special kid to be able to beat out a senior. You’re looking at a 15-year-old who can beat out a mature 18-year-old young man at a position. That does not happen very often in this valley. Usually when it does, it’s a pretty special player we’re talking about.”
That competitive drive and toughness stems from sibling rivalry that has existed since the pair began football together at age 5.
“We compete a lot with each other,” Jovan said. “We’re always trying to be better than each other.”
“When we were little,” Ryan said, “sometimes we wouldn’t get along, and we’d fight and kick each other on the field. We got in trouble by the coaches. … But we had fun.”
Nowadays, the two still argue, but it doesn’t end in kicking and screaming. Ryan is also quick to point out that he is, in fact, the older brother by 15 seconds.
“I can boss him around,” he said “Sometimes.”
Although they’ve been playing together their whole lives, they’ve managed to develop slightly different playing styles. Jovan also prefers to play receiver, while Ryan likes offense and defense equally.
“Their styles are similar. They both have the same athleticism,” Varner said. “I would say Jovan is maybe a little bit more aggressive and Ryan’s a little bit more smooth.”
Varner is hesitant to call it twin telepathy, but the brothers have a heightened sense of each other on the field.
“I feel a lot better with him on the other side than most of the other kids,” Jovan said of his brother. “If he makes mistakes, I pick it up, but a lot of the times it’s good for us. A lot of times, we make some pretty big plays.”
Neither brother seems nervous about their first varsity starts as underclassmen Friday when West Ranch travels to Simi Valley. The twins have done a lot of conditioning since ending baseball season and are finally comfortable with the players and coaches surrounding them.
“(It’s) not even a thing,” Ryan said. “I’m just really excited to play our first game. Just being able to get on the field in front of a bunch of people and show them what we can do.”