Senior defensive linemen Will Mostaert (left) and twin brother Eli are key members of the Lakeville North defense. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii * Richard.Tsong-Taatarii@startribune.com
Will Mostaert beat identical twin brother Eli into the world by 13 minutes and it’s been game on ever since.
They stormed away from the table when a game of “Sorry!” with grandma didn’t go their way. Later, they tossed Xbox controllers for similar reasons.
Now, the seniors’ competitive fire warms No. 1-ranked Lakeville North’s entire defense. Both measure 6-4 and about 245 pounds. Both play on the defensive line. And together, they provide the undefeated Panthers a double-shot of intensity, energy and personality.
“They’ll test your patience,” Lakeville North coach Brian Vossen said. “And not because of their effort or their play. But last season, I had to call a timeout to go out there and tell them to shut up.
“They are hard on each other to the point where you wonder if they’re too hard on each other,” Vossen said.
It’s just who they are.
“We try to make each other better and help the team win games,” said Eli, who will join his brother at North Dakota State. “If we do something good, it gets us hyped. Then the defense steps up and does something good and then the student section gets hyped.”
Those chain reactions are common. Heading into Lakevile North’s game Friday against No. 8 Prior Lake (4-2) at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan, the Mostaerts have produced 18 tackles for loss and eight sacks. The Panthers (6-0) permit fewer than two touchdowns (12.3 points) per game.
“They are incredibly coachable guys,” Vossen said. “They just can’t hide their outward personalities. But the team kind of rallies abound their competitiveness. They raise the play of everyone.”
Will took the compliment in stride.
“I never thought of it that way,” he said. “I just thought we were good players who were pests.”
Game officials can attest to the Mostaerts’ annoying ways.
“I ask a lot of questions,” Will said.
Too many, as it turns out, in the Wayzata game two weeks ago.
“The refs told me to be quiet and then Eli asked them something and because we sound alike, they thought it was me,” Will said. “So the refs tell me to knock it off.”
Vossen said an official warned him about Will, “but before we can talk to him, Eli is yelling at him.”
Pure Mostaerts. Competitors and comedians.
The twins also rotate on offense at the H-back position, a fullback-tight end hybrid designed to clear paths for running backs. Their presence, plus a massive offensive line, has sprung Brian Curtis Jr. for 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.
Happy to block for Curtis during games, Will had to measure himself against Class 6A’s second-leading rusher in practice last week. They ran a 40-yard dash and Curtis won by a half step.
“I think 10 more yards and I would’ve had him,” Will said.
Vossen said the Mostaerts are two of the five fastest guys on the team, and the other three are skill guys.”
The twins play basketball and compete in shot put and discus throw during track and field season.
“I play center because I’m kind of rough in there,” Eli said. “Will is a wing because he doesn’t rebound as well as I do.”
Will said of their abilities on the football field, “We’re very similar, I’d say. But he’s got a little belly on him.”
Observers share their opinions of which brother is better but Vossen isn’t so sure.
“I am 100-percent certain I could switch their jerseys and no one would know,” Vossen said. “We’ve had some great players like Greg Menard and Carl Engwall. But there was only one of each of those guys. To have these two on the field at the same time is so unbelievable.”
And so far, unbeatable.
Will (left) and Eli Mostaert
Will Mostaert: Defensive lineman, wears No. 91; 34 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, three sacks
Eli Mostaert: Defensive lineman, wears No. 98; 35 tackles, eight tackles-for-loss, five sacks
About the twins: Both committed to play football at North Dakota State University. Will decided first by about two weeks. Will also reached Lakeville North’s varsity team first, promoted sophomore year as a blocking tight end.
“Eli wanted nothing to do with it,” Panthers’ coach Brian Vossen said. That’s because growing up, Vossen said, the heavier Will had to play on the line while Eli got to be a quarterback or tight end.
The twins hold down various spots in the defensive line depending on situations and matchups.
"We think we’re pretty even,” Eli said. “We’re interchangeable.”
DAVID LA VAQUE