Ooltewah's Alex Doss has more tackles this high school football season than his twin and teammate Stuart. But Stuart has scored more touchdowns.
Alex boasts that his 3.8 grade-point average is higher than his brother's.
"I did better on the ACT," Stuart quickly remarked.
When asked together if there was anything the other brother could do better, simultaneously they said, "No."
Competitive? That barely begins to describe the Doss twins, who are undersized linebackers but big reasons the Owls are state-playoff contenders.
The Doss family moved from Hixson when the twins were going to fourth grade, which was the time they began playing football in the Ooltewah Youth Association. Coming through the ranks they were running backs and cornerbacks.
Each now is 5-foot-10. Alex, the middle linebacker, weighs 185 pounds. Outside linebacker Stuart weighs 175.
"We've heard we look like defensive backs," Stuart said, "but play like linebackers."
Alex plays like a linebacker with a team-leading 66.5 tackles but lifts weights like a noseguard. His 1,085 pounds combined in the bench press, squat and power clean is tops on the team. For the record, Stuart's total is 980.
Stuart's 64.5 tackles are second-most on the team, and he has a team-high four fumble recoveries and has returned all of his team-leading three interceptions for touchdowns. Alex has one interception.
"They're not big enough; they're not fast enough," Ooltewah coach Shannon Williams said. "But they're always around the football. Stuart will yell at Alex if he's not getting us lined up fast enough. They scream at each other all game. But they've made a lot of plays around here for a while."
Williams said he wouldn't be able to tell the twins apart if not for a scar Alex has on his hairline. A stop sign caused it during a bicycle accident when he was in fourth grade.
As seniors the brothers realize their remaining time to play football is limited. When asked what may become a substitute once their football careers are finished, Alex said, "Killing more deer."
The former wrestlers now like spending their winters in the woods. Alex points out he has three bucks to Stuart's two.
"I think they go grizzly hunting with a switch," Williams said.
Ooltewah (6-3, 3-2 5-AAA) is off this week and plays its final regular-season game at Walker Valley next Friday. Stuart said beating the Mustangs would mean a chance not only to make it into the Class 5A state playoffs but to play another home game.
"Our last game at home, me and him both had big games," Stuart said. "I had a pick-six and he had the most tackles he's ever had in a game."
After shutting out Brainerd in their opener, the Owls went 1-3 in a stretch in which they gave up an average of 34.5 points per game. In their 4-0 run since, they've allowed an average of 8.8 per game.
"The whole team is finally starting to get into a rhythm," said Alex, who shares tight end duties with Stuart and also is the long-snapper. Stuart is the backup punter.
Stuart would love to bag another buck as soon as possible to even that score. Nothing would please Alex more than getting the next and doubling up on his brother.
But deer season must wait. The Doss twins love playing football and aren't quite ready for that to end.
"The chemistry on the team is a lot higher now. and we're better as a team as a whole," Alex said. "We've just got to make the best of things in these next couple of weeks."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or email@example.com.