Twins Preston, Ethan Gall bring different flavor to Blue Jay sports
Ethan and Preston Gall are both three-sport athletes at Jamestown High School.
JAMESTOWN — Preston Gall said having a twin is like having a built-in friend, training partner and teammate.
But there's always a downside.
"I would say the worst part (of having a twin) is sharing a car," Preston said.
No matter who's driving the shared means of transportation, Preston or his twin brother Ethan, the Jays are sure glad they get two for the price of one.
"They are great kids," Jamestown High School head football coach Bill Nelson said. "They work extremely hard all of the time. They are blue-collar, hard-working and support others.
"If I call them and tell them I need help with something, 99% of the time they come and they help. They are going to make the right decision and they are going to bring others along with them. They are fun kids to be around."
While sometimes Nelson doesn't get to know his athletes until they are in middle school or high school, Nelson said he connected with the Gall family soon after he and his wife, Steph, made the move to Jamestown in 2002.
The connection stayed viable as Nelson's two sons, Will and Bo, are close in age to the Gall boys so the two families have stayed connected through kids birthday parties and youth sports.
"I've known the boys since they were little," Nelson said. "The boys used to argue and get after each other — you almost couldn't let them wrestle against each other because they would get so physical with each other.
"As they've gotten older — those boys who used to argue — now they are each other's biggest fan. It's really cool."
The Gall brothers are set to kick off their final season with Nelson and the Blue Jay football team on Aug. 26 in a non-conference tilt against Grand Forks Red River.
While football is the sport on both of their minds right now, the pair of soon-to-be seniors also plays roles on the Blue Jays' basketball, wrestling and baseball teams.
Ethan and Preston also suit up and play Legion baseball during the summer months. Preston suits up for the Post 14 Eagles while Ethan takes the field with the Post 14 Blues team.
"I got into sports because of my family," Preston said. "Every day before elementary school, Ethan and I would go play football or baseball at the college."
Nelson has Ethan playing on the Jays' defensive and offensive line while Preston suits up as a wide receiver and an offensive linebacker.
Last year, during the football season, Ethan was credited with 36 tackles. En route to its first state championship since 1956, Preston hauled in one reception for 16 yards.
"From a football perspective, we haven't had a lot of sets of twins," Nelson said. "We've had a lot of brother combinations where you see similar things from both of them — but those two being twins — it's so different.
"Ethan is kind of a bull in a china shop — he shifts into overdrive right away — he just goes. Preston is more of a cerebral assassin. They are similar but both of them attack things in different ways."
If all goes according to plan, the Gall duo agreed that the Jays could be even more dominant this season out on the gridiron.
"I think we are capable of great things this year," Ethan said. "We have some really good guys who want to work and get better. I think if we can come together as a team and win games we can do even better than last year."
Ethan and Preston have been communicating with coaches regarding the possibility of playing football at the collegiate level. The pair has not many any final decisions regarding commitments at this time.
The twins are no strangers to the world of college sports.
The twins' dad, Kevin, a 22-year head coach for the University of Jamestown softball team, has been a driving force in regard to his sons' athletic careers. Gall coached the Jimmies to a 23-24-1 overall record and 10-11-1 in the GPAC this last spring.
"I don’t know where we would be without him," Preston said. "He has helped us a lot with all of our sports. He played baseball, football and basketball in high school. Ethan plays those sports but in elementary school, I decided to do wrestling because a few of my friends were in it and it stuck."
Preston went 31-18 on the mat last winter posting 13 pins and racking up 47 career wins. He had 44 take-downs and set a team record last season with 56 escapes. He was credited with scoring the fifth-most team points at 135 and wound up fourth in the state at 182 pounds.
Ethan was credited with six rebounds nabbed for the Blue Jay varsity basketball squad.
Prior to coaching UJ softball full-time, Kevin was on the sidelines for the Jimmie football games as an assistant coach, giving his young sons the ability to experience the college football scene at a very early age.
"They've been running around the Larson Center for a long, long time," Nelson said. "Most of the coaches who have been over there for any amount of time know who the Gall boys are. Whether they are climbing on the bleachers at the Civic Center or they are at Rollie Greeno Field or they are at Jack Brown or Trapper Field.
"When your dad is a coach, you get to see and experience a lot of cool things that a lot of other kids don't and they know that."
Aside from being introduced to college sports at an early age and developing a strong mental, athletic game the steady athletic progression could also be attributed to the brothers' dedication to Nelson's Blue Jay Athletic Development (BAD) strength and conditioning training program.
Nelson said the Gall boys have been in the weight room regularly from the time they were in sixth grade.
"BAD has definitely impacted our careers because working out helps you a lot with sports and getting better septum contact sports like football and wrestling," Preston said. "Without BAD and coach’s classes throughout the school year, Ethan and I wouldn’t even be close to where we are today."
While they have put in the time, in the weight room and practices, sometimes it's the innate ability that pushes the other one to be even better.
"Preston influences athletically by being a great teammate and having a good attitude towards everything," Ethan said. "He stays after practice and gets extra work in to make our team better while he makes himself better."
Preston's hard work is currently being emulated by the stats he's producing for Sam Joseph and the Post 14 Legion baseball team. He currently holds a .419 batting average and has produced 18 hits — two of which were out of the park.
Preston is holding steady with a .500 on-base percentage and has racked up 12 RBIs, second only to the Eagles' leader Connor Hoyt.
Ethan has put up a .372 batting average for the Post 14 Jamestown Blues. He is credited with one dinger and 22 runs batted in on his 29 hits.
During the prep baseball season, the two brothers were nearly perfect out in the field with Preston holding a .963 percentage and Ethan finishing his junior year with a .947. At the plate, Ethan was .267 while Preston came in at .226. Preston notched the only two home runs the Jays tallied all year. He also drove in 10 runners.
It's not just on the field that the twins shine.
Preston and Ethan have been a part of the Blue Jay football program's leadership council for the last four years, something that works to develop their leadership skills while also holding themselves accountable for their actions.
"Now I really only get to be around them in sport but the fun stuff is to getting to spend time with them not in the weight room or not in football," Nelson said. "It's something like the leadership council and seeing how they interact.
"They are brothers, they are going to give each other grief but that's just the brotherly love, the sibling love that happens all of the time but with twins, it just seems a little bit different and it's a really cool thing."
It's not just each other who the twins are focused on helping.
Nelson said whenever he calls — winter, spring, summer or fall — the Galls will answer and be on the front lines helping to make the Buffalo City or the Blue Jay programs better than they were previously.
"When you are with kids for so long, you end up developing a close bond and you end up caring about them like they are your own," Nelson said.
"We were tremendously blessed to do something last year and that means the world but what means more is to see them 10, 12, 15 years from now, in a career they love and looking back at their time as a Blue Jay and knowing they laid it all on the line and that they had a lot of fun doing it."