WORTHINGTON -- The 2020 high school football season was still a fresh memory when seniors Kent and Tommy Lais announced their decision to continue their careers next year with the Minnesota West grid program.
As Kent said, “We’re pretty much a pair.”
They are, indeed. They are twin brothers, in fact, and their father is Trojans head football coach Geno Lais, who once was an assistant coach with the Bluejays. In a recent interview, Kent said West was a fairly obvious choice for those reasons and more. He will be going into law enforcement after he graduates high school, and West has a highly regarded law enforcement program.
As twins, it is to be expected that Kent and Tommy share many traits, but there of course many differences, too. Together, they were named All-District last fall in football, but Tommy as an impressive pass-catching end and Kent as a linebacker-running back. He had an especially strong year last fall as a tackling machine on defense.
They are also veteran members of the Trojans’ wrestling and baseball programs. They took similar paths in wrestling, taking their lumps against more experienced competition when they were younger, but continuing to develop until they began to dish it out. In baseball, Kent is a hard-hitting outfielder. Tommy, though he’s been out of action this spring while recovering from a football injury, has established himself as an exceptional catcher.
They inspire each other, and they have responded well to their father who encouraged them to work hard in the weight room to get better each year.
Kent has other inspirations to motivate him, as well.
“Well, I guess I have a different one for each sport,” he said recently. “But in football my biggest inspiration is Eric Kendricks from the Vikings. Wrestling, I don’t really have one. I guess just being around my teammates helps. And then in baseball I gotta go with David Ortiz, just because I’ve grown up watching him my entire life. And he’s always been one of my favorite players.”
This week’s Globe Drill focus, Kent attributes his success in baseball to working hard in practice and taking everything seriously, including the way he develops his skills in the batting cage. He doesn’t plan to stop working diligently to improve his abilities.
You can see the Drill video of Kent Lais online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sample of the interview:
QUESTION: You’ve been a hard worker in the weight room for several years now. Where does that come from?
ANSWER: “I’ve been working hard in the weight room for the past 4-5 years if you count this summer. My dad’s tried to get me in there when I was younger so I could get bigger and stronger for all three of my sports -- so I could be a better athlete and continue on in college.”
QUESTION: How else have your brother and your dad influenced you in athletics?
ANSWER: “Tommy, my brother, has always pushed me to be more competitive than him. And I’ve always tried to beat him in every sport we’ve been in. We’re always competing with each other. And my dad’s always pushed me to become a better football player and baseball player because he wants to see us succeed and be the best we can.”
QUESTION: So what sets you apart from the rest as a linebacker?
ANSWER: “What sets me apart is my ability to read the ball, read pass, read run. And be able to cover and get the tackles when I need to. … My intelligence as a football player grows because I’m on the field, I’m watching film. I guess I play Madden (on Playstation) quite a bit, too, which helps.”