EL CERRITO -- Keilan is the cool, collected quarterback, and Keith is the fiery receiver and defensive back. Those are just about the only differences between El Cerrito's Benjamin brothers.

They share the same clothing, finish each other's sentences and are being recruited by the same colleges.

"We do everything together, literally everything," said Keith, who is slightly taller than Keilan and has a little more hair. "If he doesn't do it, I don't do it."

Most importantly for the El Cerrito football team, the identical twins have a special bond on the field.

A week after connecting for three touchdowns in the Gauchos' first ever North Coast Section championship game win, the Benjamin brothers hope to make more school history.

El Cerrito plays Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at De Anza High in the CIF Northern Regional Division III final. A win puts the Gauchos (12-2) in a state bowl game for the first time.

If Keilan finds himself under pressure against the big, brawny Gators (12-1), chances are Keith will be there to bail him out.

"I've played with him my whole life, so I always know, if something goes down, he's going to be right there," Keilan said. "Sure enough, throughout my whole year at quarterback, anytime I was about to take a sack he's just right there to dump it off to. He'll make something out of nothing and make me look good."


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The seniors are so in tune with each other that when Keilan cramped up in the NCS final against Marin Catholic-Kentfield last week, Keith hobbled off with the same problem just a couple plays later.

The oldest of five children, the Benjamin brothers' connection on the field may have as much to do with their long history as teammates as their twin telepathy.

They both started playing at age 6 with Keilan behind center and Keith at a running back and receiver -- except for that one season in youth football when they played a classic twin prank and tricked their coach by switching roles.

"At the end of the playoffs, the coach asked Keith, 'How come you never throw the ball?' " Keilan recalled.

Though both brothers are a touch undersized, they've grown tremendously since arriving at El Cerrito and hold offers from Portland State and Eastern Washington, with other schools showing interest.

Keilan has worked to shed being labeled as simply an athlete, attending a regional Elite 11 camp in the offseason and improving his pocket presence.

"A lot of people saw him as a dink and dunk, drop it off to your talent kind of guy," El Cerrito coach Kenny Kahn said.

Of course, it always helps to have a receiver who can almost read your mind.

"I pretty much know all his tendencies, what he likes to do, and if he's getting rushed too hard where he's going to go," Keith said. "Just looking at the alignment on the field, I know where he wants to go, so it's pretty easy to just run to the open spot."