Twin towers rise to greatness


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– It’s pretty rare to start on two varsity teams in high school, but one athlete at Hoggard High School does that, and much more. Ayla Johnson is a key player for both the volleyball and basketball teams, but she feels a real sisterhood with the football team.

“I’ve definitely moved around, Ayla said. “I started off as a middle, and then I was a center and right side. Then recently I transitioned to be an outside.”

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It’s hard to keep up with Ayla Johnson.

She serves like she means business and she does, because it’s in her blood. She’s a minute older than her twin brother, and her early years were spent one-upping him on the court, and in their house.

“It was pretty awesome cause then we’d have competitions in the house,” Ayla said. “It’s always fun,” Ayla said.

The fun continues to this day. Ayla isn’t just a scholar-athlete. She’s a fan. The guy she cheers hardest for will be on the field Friday taking the Snaps.

Gabriel Johnson is a second-year quarterback for the Vikings. He has all the tools, and he’s the size coaches like. A strong player with a great arm, and he already talks like a quarterback.

“We all got to do our jobs 100 % every play and we gotta come out strong,” Gabriel said.

That’s the standard line when you don’t want to tip your hand to your opponent. But just ask him about Ayla, and he shows all his cards.

“I would say she’s the better athlete because she has probably like three practices a day,” Gabriel said. “She has beach volleyball, volleyball, and she’s got a lot of stuff to do. She does travel volleyball too, so she’s always doing something. She’s really busy.”

Busy doesn’t even begin to describe this talented teen. She’s a phenom on the court as well; routinely scoring for the Vikings during basketball season.

As focused as she is on her own sports, she appreciates the quiet power her twin brings to everything he does.

“Gabe just tries really hard in a lot of stuff,” Ayla said. “He doesn’t really show his emotions, but he works hard in a lot of stuff. He’ll overthink it, but he’s definitely trying his best for sure.”

Fans will get the chance to see Gabriel try his best Friday. He’ll hit the field knowing his biggest fan has his back, and wants to see him succeed in every way because that’s how she trained him.

“I think it made me better to always be competing at the house, you know, just trying to be better than her and her trying to be better than me,” Gabriel said.

Viking fans get the benefit of all that competition, no matter the sport.

Both Ayla and Gabriel hope to continue their sports in college. Ayla says she definitely wants to play beach volleyball and would love to play indoor as well.

Gabriel’s working hard to suit up next fall and eventually play at the next level.