Haldane’s Dan and Darrin Santos excelled in basketball, football and lacrosse
Darrin and Dan Santos, who are 17 years old and seniors at Haldane High School, are big on brotherhood. Not just because they’re twins but, because to them, brotherhood is what sports are all about, whether it’s football, basketball, lacrosse or baseball. They were both three-sport athletes over the past three years.
Brotherhood — and having fun.
“I had the most fun with the football team our junior year,” Dan said. “It was just a very nice brotherhood.”
Darrin singled out the lacrosse team during their sophomore year, which finished 15-3. “We won a lot,” he recalled. “We didn’t win a championship, but it was still a lot of fun.”
Asked if they were glad they attended a smaller school, Darrin again emphasized togetherness. “It’s that brotherhood thing I keep talking about,” he said. “You have fun in one sport and it just carries over to the next. It’s all the same guys.”
Not every moment on the field or court has been joyous. “There are times, the rainy practices, when you don’t even want to show up,” Darrin said. “But you still do; everyone does.”
Losing a game is seldom painless. Dan still laments a particularly tough basketball defeat at the hands of perennial rival Tuckahoe, the only other Class D school in Section I, during their junior year. “We should not have lost that game,” he recalled, shaking his head.
The brothers said Haldane’s coaches have been as important as their teammates, on and off the field. “All the coaches have helped us; they’ve all been there for us,” Darrin said. “It was nice to have them as part of our lives, especially after what happened.”
What happened were two losses far more painful than being on the short end of a score, for both the brothers and their sister, Mikayla, who is a sophomore at Haldane and also an athlete. In April 2020, their father, Darrin, died of COVID-19 at age 50. He was a transportation supervisor for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital based in White Plains and, after the coronavirus began to spread in New York, transported doctors to New York City hospitals. Three months later, their mother, Melissa, died at age 49 after a nine-year battle with multiple myeloma.
The brothers said sports helped them through those difficult times. “When there weren’t any sports [at school], we’d go to the turf field or the park and continue playing, throwing the football around, shooting lacrosse or playing basketball,” Dan said. “It took a lot of our time during those days. It was good for us, kept us occupied.”
Do twin brothers compete with each other? “It was competitive,” Dan said. “But it made us more competitive against the opposition.”
“Being twins just made us better,” Darrin said. “We know each other, how we play, what we do.”
Neither has trouble identifying the other’s strength as an athlete. “Dan is a good leader,” Darrin said. “He was the quarterback in football, the point guard in basketball, leadership roles.”
From Dan’s perspective, Darrin’s biggest asset is his physical strength. “Throughout the years we’ve played together, he’s always been stronger than the opposition,” he said.
Darrin likes to make one important distinction between the two. “I’m older … by about a minute,” he said, with a smile.
- During the 2021 football season (postponed from the fall because of the pandemic shutdown), Dan threw for 643 yards at quarterback and scored five touchdowns and Darrin ran for 411 yards and also had 30 tackles on defense to lead the team in both categories.
- On May 26, Darrin scored a school record nine goals in a 12-9 lacrosse win over North Salem. He reached 100 career points (goals and assists) as a sophomore.
- In April 2019, Dan threw a no-hitter against Peekskill, striking out 11 batters.
- In January 2019, Dan stole an inbounds pass with 1.1 seconds left in a basketball game at Saunders High School and hit a 30-foot shot at the buzzer to win the game for Haldane, 60-57.
Their coaches speak highly of the brothers.
Basketball Coach Joe Virgadamo remembers them from summer camp when they were in elementary school. “You knew they were going to be great athletes,” he said. He considers them “two of the toughest kids I have coached,” adding that their work ethic, competitiveness and ability to handle adversity “helped them become great athletes, very good basketball players, and amazing kids on and off the court.”
Football Coach Ryan McConville was equally enthusiastic. “Both would have played any position I asked them to, and that speaks volumes to their character,” he said. “Neither is a really ‘rah-rah’ type player, but they are leaders; I can’t wait to see how they write the next chapters of their lives.”
Like Virgadamo and McConville, lacrosse Coach Ed Crowe was struck by how the brothers’ strengths went beyond athletics. “They’re great role models for younger athletes,” he said. “They always put team success ahead of their individual accomplishments.”
The twin threat will split in the fall. Darrin plans to attend Northfield Mount Hermon Prep School in Hermon, Massachusetts, where he will pursue what he says is his favorite sport: lacrosse. Dan will head to the Salisbury School in Salisbury, Connecticut, to pursue his favorite: basketball.
“If we weren’t going to prep schools, I’m not sure we’d be going to the same college,” Darrin said. “I don’t think being apart will affect us negatively.”
Dan said he isn’t at all worried about the change. “I don’t think excited is exactly the right word,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to it. It’s a new experience.”
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