Twins on opposite sidelines leave family ‘torn’
NEW ORLEANS – On a Saturday night when eight Louisiana football teams are going head-to-head, there are plenty of divided households.
Those families have nothing on Tatiana Santee. Her twin boys, Jamiran and Jeremiah James, helped De La Salle reach the Division II state championship game nine months ago. On this night, Jamiran is a freshman defensive lineman at Tulane, and Jeremiah is a freshman offensive lineman at Nicholls.
As the Green Wave and Colonels faced off for the first time in history at Yulman Stadium, Santee, her husband and brother sat in the north end zone, each wearing “Torn In Between The Two” t-shirts.
It’s the first time the James twins have not been on the same team, and in the second game of each of their college careers, they are on opposite sidelines.
“Today has been the most difficult,” Santee said. “I’ve been praying for this day for the longest time.”
As hard as it is to see the twins on opposite sidelines, Santee said their senior season at De La Salle was actually more emotional.
“They really wanted to get to the championship and win,” Santee said.
As it was, the Cavaliers reached the state title game for the first time since 1961 – coincidentally, with a victory over St. Thomas More on the same Yulman Stadium turf where they would be on opposite sidelines on this evening.
Until the twins got under Ryan Manale’s wing on St. Charles Avenue, they had both played on defense. Manale moved Jeremiah James to the offensive line, which had the twins facing off daily in practice.
“It was always, ‘I beat you on this, you can’t block me, I’m too tough for you,'” Santee said.
There’s a friendly wager among the brothers – and not surprisingly, when one checks in at 290 pounds and the other at 280, it involves food, with an assist from Mom.
Tulane’s 42-17 victory earned Jamiran a pan of lasagna. Had Nicholls won, Jeremiah would have gotten a pan of pasta.
On this night, though, the cooking would wait and Tatiana Santee would enjoy watching both of her twin boys on a college football sideline.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…