Fortress of brotherhood

They're twin brothers, born two minutes apart.

They are separate stars in two different sports, at two different positions.

But beyond that, there is hardly anything separating Burroughs High athletes Lucas and Tyler Yanez.

"I don't ever plan on breaking away from my brother," said Lucas, who is older.

Tyler echoes his brother's sentiments: "I've never really left him. We've always done everything together."

The pair of seniors star for both the football and boys' volleyball teams at Burroughs. During his junior and senior seasons in 2010 and '11, the 5-foot-8 Lucas quarterbacked the Indians to their first back-to-back league titles since the 1980-'81 seasons. Tyler, at 6-2, was also a member of those title teams. He solidified himself as a playmaker at wide receiver.

On the volleyball court, it's Tyler — a setter — who is most often passing to Lucas, an outside hitter.

Over the past two seasons, the Indians, whose volleyball program is only five years old, have had back to back CIF Southern Section Division III playoff appearances.

However, led by the Yanez brothers, this year's volleyball team is enjoying a historic and record-setting season. Along with winning its second straight Pacific League title, the team earned the top seed for the Division III playoffs, compiled a sparkling 33-3 record and will look to do something no other squad has been able to accomplish.

Burroughs will take on Cerritos Valley Christian at 2 p.m. today at Cypress College with a CIF Southern Section championship at stake. Should Burroughs win, it would mark the first-ever team title in any sport in the school's 63-year history.

Indians' Coach Joel Brinton, who started the program, said he realized the Yanez brothers had talent upon their arrival in the program as freshmen.

"They came in on the freshman level," said Brinton, whose team has set a record for wins in a season. "You could tell we had a couple special athletes."

The boys' father, Art Yanez, played football for Burroughs in the 1970s and has coached at the school for more than 30 years.

He said he first saw his sons' athleticism blooming when they were only a couple of years old.

"They'd be out in the front yard," Art recalled. "Lucas throwing the ball, Tyler swinging the bat, hitting it. They just grew up on all the ball fields."

Whether football, baseball, or basketball, the Yanez brothers were practicing, competing, and looking up to their 22-year old brother, Art, who was a multi-sport athlete at Village Christian School.

"Even in the front yard, losing wasn't a thing in our mind," Lucas said. "Everything was a competition. That's how we grew up from our father. The good part about it is we were always on the same team growing up. We'd always make each other better. We had each other."

From there, their father coached Lucas and Tyler for many years, all the way through their first years on the freshman football and volleyball teams at Burroughs.

Brinton said he's noticed both Lucas and Tyler's on-court maturity developing each year they got older. But as sophomores, it was evident they had advanced skills.

"It's one of those joys as a coach," Brinton said. "They've become very good volleyball players, but they've become better people. Those two have set a precedent. They are the type of volleyball players we want in our program. They don't come around that often. It gives all of our guys something to work for."

The brothers helped put the Burroughs volleyball team on the map last season, as the Indians captured a share of the first league title in program history.

Tyler ended up being the top player on the team, earning All-Area player-of-the-year and All-CIF Southern Section third-team accolades, as well as being named co-Pacific League Player of the Year. He enjoyed a breakthrough season, setting school records for assists with 722 assists and blocks with 63. In addition, he had 68 kills and led team with 28 aces.

Lucas set school records with 234 kills and 220 digs. He also had 23 aces and was the squad's most consistent passer.

In football, it was Lucas who emerged as the team's standout player. The Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year and All-Area first-team selection completed 133 of 214 passes (a 62% completion rate) for 1,965 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Along with his threat as a passer, Lucas also proved he could run, carrying the ball 96 times for 523 yards (5.5 yards a carry) and nine touchdowns.

Lucas finished with a distinction that no other player in the history of Burroughs football has been able to accomplish. He is No. 3 on the all-time Indians career passing list, as well as being No. 9 on the career rushing list. During his tenure, he completed 303 of 515 passes for 4,280 yards, 36 touchdowns and an NCAA quarterback rating of 145.1. He also gained 1,481 yards rushing.

Tyler was a solid player at wide receiver. Despite being injured for a chunk of the season, he had 37 catches for 393 yards (10.6 yards a catch) and four touchdowns in 2010.

Like their ability to work together on the football field, the brothers' on-court chemistry has been in the makings for years.

"They're always in sync," Brinton said. "They're always knowing what the other one is thinking."

Tyler agreed: "It's kind of a bond that we have."

But with all the competing and winning comes a potential for sibling rivalry, which Lucas says they've kept strictly confined to practice.

"In practice, if [Tyler] wasn't performing the way I knew he could, I'd get on his back about it," Lucas said.

In turn, Tyler said he doesn't hesitate to get on his big brother. "We'll get in a fight at practice," he said. "I think something's right. He thinks something's right. It's all brotherly love, though."

Brinton sees these interactions more than anybody.

"They know what buttons to push to get under each others skin," he said. "They're two of the most competitive kids I've coached. Tyler's the one that's more loosey-goosey at practice."

Lucas said he sees a slight difference in the demeanor of the two. "I'm more a laid back type person. Tyler's a loud jokester," he said.

Off the court, the Yanez brothers most often stick together, doing the typical things teenagers do — watching movies, hanging out at friends' houses and spend time with girlfriends.

"My wife, Denyse, and I tried to instill in them to do the right thing, even when no one's looking," Art said.

After graduating from Burroughs, Lucas and Tyler are planning to go to Los Angeles Piece College in Woodland Hills. Lucas says he's going to transition into the libero position and become a defensive specialist.

After two years at Pierce, the two hope to transfer and continue playing college volleyball elsewhere. If history has been any indication, it's unlikely they'll won't drift too far away from each other.

"I can't see us moving away from each other that far," Lucas said.

Art added: "They're going to end up eventually having to branch off into their own deal. Hopefully, it's not too far away."

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