As a fan, Lance Austin has never seen his twin brother Lawrence play in person, from the stands. That is because the Austin twins were inseparable until this year. They played together for The Lamar County Comprehensive High School football team in their small hometown of Barnesville, Georgia. They went on to play together for Georgia Tech. They worked out together for the local NFL team, the Atlanta Falcons. Last October, they signed together for the new Alliance of American Football league, Georgia based team, the Atlanta Legends.
The Legends, who played their first game ever on Feb. 9, 2019, had to cease operations as the entire league went bankrupt only two months later and suddenly, in the beginning of April, the Austin’s found themselves in an unfamiliar situation. Not only did they join different teams for the first time in their lives, but both of them left for teams that do not play in Georgia, and it was arena football.
At the age of 23, Lance, who signed with the Baltimore Brigade of the Arena Football League and Lawrence, who joined the Massachusetts Pirates, had to make some new and major adjustments. About half way through the season, from the Pirates point of view, it appears that Lawrence had done an unbelievable job.
The twins continue to play as defensive backs. At the moment, Lance is on the Brigade Injured Reserve list. That gives him time to analyze every move his brother makes, from a new angle, looking at the screen: “Lawrence sends me a link before the game begins every week,” he said. “I try to watch the entire field, but I find myself focusing on him a lot. I always got excited from the plays that he used to make, more than any other plays in the games I played in,” Lance added.
Lawrence admits that it is a bit tough and weird not seeing his brother on the field with him, because this is the first time he really has to do it by himself. “We always used to help one another and talk to each other. I loved playing with him and competing against him. We used to compare stats and see who has more interceptions, tackles, everything.”
At the moment, if Lawrence would compare his stats to other National Arena League players, he would probably have a big smile on his face. He is first, by a mile (Actually by 40 yards) in Interception Return Yards with 106 and first in Solo Tackles with 42. He is also tied for first in pick-6’s and tied for second in interceptions with six in nine games.
“The first thing I am focused on, whenever I have a chance for an interception, is to catch the ball. I had some drops this season,” he explains. “Then, if I have it, I am going for the touchdown. Against Orlando I got stopped on the 1-yard line and that was frustrating.”
His personal goal for the season is to lead the league in the interception categories “It would be really cool to do it as a rookie.” Other than that, he says he wants to continue in getting used to the indoor game, which can be very tricky for a defensive back, even one with such great instincts as Austin has. “It took me some time, learning the high motion and the different rules, but I make more and more plays now, as the season progresses. I keep working all the time on the receivers in high motion, because they get to the line at full speed and you have to adjust.”
Austin says that he receives good advice from his fellow defensive backs on the team, now that his brother is no longer sharing a locker room with him. They knew this day will come at some point and received plenty of support from their father.
When Lawrence and Lance were 12-years-old, Derick Austin was named principal of the local high school where they ended up playing. “He was always there for us,” says Lawrence of his father, a diehard Atlanta Falcons fan. Derick used to play football for Georgia Southern University. “He never missed any of our games.”
Now apart from his twin brother and father, Lawrence Austin is quickly getting used to life in Worcester, a much quieter place than Atlanta. Even the cold, that struck him when he first landed in Massachusetts less than three months ago, doesn’t bother him anymore. Now he heats up the DCU Center, where Lawrence has played a major part in the Pirates four-game winning streak.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.