Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Buford players Dontravious Wilson, brothers Thomas Wilson, center, and Terrance Wilson, right, have been big playmakers in Buford's run at another state finals appearance. Buford will face St. Pius X for the Class AAA state championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta today.
BUFORD -- Even as common a last name as Wilson is, it is natural to assume that Buford's trio of Dontravious, Terrance and Thomas Wilson are all related.
After all, they have similar body frames -- even with distinct differences -- and possess very similar and varied skills that have made all three major contributors to the Wolves drive into Friday's Class AAA state championship football game against St. Pius X at the Georgia Dome.
But for the record, only two of Buford's Wilsons -- fraternal twins Terrance and Thomas, both juniors -- are, in fact, related.
It's a mistake they don't necessarily mind, but are quick to correct.
"That happens a lot," said Dontravious Wilson, a senior running back/linebacker. "Everyone thinks we're related, but by now, they should know we're not. ... But at Buford, everybody's family. That's one thing we stress a lot around here."
Indeed, the family atmosphere around the Buford program helped bond Dontravious Wilson with the twins, and the rest of the Wolves, when he moved into the area from Lithia Springs in the summer of 2011.
And all three have experienced what can be considered a breakout season in terms of being big-play threats at their respective positions, in helping the Wolves try to climb back to the top with the move up to Class AAA.
That development doesn't surprise Buford coach Jess Simpson, who sees a lot in common with the three players despite them having three fairly distinct personalities.
"All three kids are very talented players," Simpson said. "They're all very hard workers. They're all competitive kids. Thomas probably has the most variety of skills, and both (of the twins) ... look very different.
"We had no idea coming into the season who we would be looking to for playmaking a lot of positions. We had so many jobs to be won, so they all had to be very competitive over the summer."
And all three have responded to become big-play threats in a variety of areas for the Wolves this season.
Offensively, Dontravious Wilson has had the biggest impact, leading Buford with 1,137 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing on 146 carries despite missing two full games and parts of another with injuries.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Western Kentucky commit has also contributed defensively with nine tackles and five quarterback pressures out of his linebacking positions, though his playing time on that side of the ball has been more limited lately due to the injuries, and the Wolves' depth at that position.
The two other Wilsons, however, have spread their contributions around more widely, and have given Buford a double threat out of the secondary, as receivers and dropping back to return kicks and punts.
And they do give credence to the theory that twins share an uncanny extra sense regarding the other, which they say can help them out on the field.
"We think alike, since we play the same sports and like to do the same things," Thomas Wilson said. "Most of the time, we can do that. It feels like when we need a big play, somebody steps up."
And yet, they also maintain their own individuality in how they contribute to the Buford cause.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Thomas has had the bigger impact with his speed and agility, rolling up 919 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns on offense and special teams to go along with 21 tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass break-ups on defense.
Meanwhile, 5-10, 172-pound Terrance has had a bigger impact with his physicality, with 34 tackles, two interceptions and six pass break-ups on the defensive side, though he has also helped out with 76 yards and two TDs on just five touches offensively.
Even as close as they are, Terrance admits the competitiveness helps fuel their skills and not only helps them try to outdo each other in helping the team, but also spills over off the field.
"There's a lot of competition between us," Terrance Wilson said with a laugh. "Everything turns into a competition. It's friendly, but every little thing turns into a competition. When we play video games or (do) other things around the house, like who can wash the car faster or see who can jump higher or something like that."
But as much as all three Wilsons like to make their own individual marks on the Buford program, they retain the same single goal -- doing whatever they are needed to do to help the Wolves bring home another state championship.
"It just feels good to get another chance to make everything right -- to make it the way it's supposed to go (at Buford)," Terrance Wilson said.