Karp Twins Push Each Other Both On and Off the Gridiron
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
When it comes to the Palisades High football program, no two players are making a bigger impact on varsity this fall than twins Johnny and Jack Babala. The same can be said for “J” brothers Julian and Josh Karp on the JV team.
The two are never far apart and just like the Babala boys, the Karp brothers are wreaking havoc in the backfield. Last Friday afternoon’s Charter Bowl game versus Granada Hills was a prime example. Josh scooped up a fumble and raced 85 yards for the Dolphins’ first score and Julian made two tackles behind the line of scrimmage on the Highlanders’ final possession.
No one appreciates the twins’ hustle and tenacity more than JV Coach Ray Marsden. It was he who convinced them that their skills are utilized best on the defensive side of the ball, as was the case for their older brother Noah, who led the Dolphins with 95 tackles as a senior middle linebacker in 2017 and is now a senior at the University of Wisconsin.
“We talk to him all the time,” Josh says of his older sibling. “He tells us all the time to strike the guy and to get low. Be the guy who hits, not the one who gets hit.”
“College football’s huge in the Midwest,” Julian chimes in. “Their tailgate parties are absurd.”
Julian is disappointed that the JV football season got canceled last year due to COVID-19: “It was only varsity in the spring so I’m mad we didn’t get to play as freshmen. Our brother describes his time at Pali as the best years of his life and we missed out on one.”
The twins are adapting well and quickly to their new positions.
“I wanted to be a receiver and corner but now I’m a running back and linebacker,” Julian says.”
“I was going to be a corner too but Coach Marsden said you’ll be a linebacker like your older brother,” adds Josh, who revels being seven minutes older. “I didn’t think it was my primary spot.”
As 10th graders who turn 16 in December, the Karps are enjoying the physical aspect of the sport and admire the tough-mindedness of their head coach, which rubs off on them and their teammates.
“Nothing satisfies him,” Julian says. “Yes, he can be tough but he makes you feel like you can always do better.”
The Karps live in Mountaingate and went to Paul Revere Middle School. They played PPBA in the Pony Division and travel baseball for a semester but now for them its all football, all the time. No matter what they are engaged in, there is always fierce competition between them—it is the way they are wired.
“If I had to pick one thing that stands out about Josh it’s his great IQ,” Julian says. “He knows where to be at the right time every play.”
“The best thing I can say about Julian is he isn’t afraid to get hit,” Josh says. “He doesn’t avoid it, he initiates it.”
While their ultimate goal is to play on varsity, neither necessarily wants to play in college. Rather, the focus is “preserving the brain cells and making good money” in careers they enjoy. Asked what they love most about football, each of them cites the camaraderie it breeds.
“Something happens on every play but also at very practice,” Josh says. “It makes you happy when a teammate does 100 push-ups or lifts a certain weight.”
“Football builds brotherhood,” Julian says. “You get close to guys through training camp and sprints.”
New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fans, the Karps went to Game 5 of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium and Julian filmed Josh getting interviewed by a news channel. Their family was also at Super Bowl LI in Houston in 2017 to see the Patriots beat the Falcons.
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