With a collection of all the best talent on one field comes a collection of all the best rivalries. Even though all-star games are a lot bigger than one team or one player, those grudges don’t just go away.
Why should they especially in the case of region 4 Class 6A foes Gulfport and St. Martin, who played the closest district game of the entire year.
This week, three players from those two schools are representing the south at the 70th annual Bernard Blackwell Classic, but at the end of the day, they’re still representing their teams, too.
The Admirals won 35-34, but more than two months later, the future division I players from both sides can still recount the events of that third Friday in September. “All I can say, it was 7-28 halftime. Final score, 34-35. So.” “And the final score, 34-35, Gulfport with the win. That’s how I remember it.” “Bro, first of all, y’all cheated. At your house, it was at your house.” “Hey, listen. Two times, region champs. We stomped the Coast again, two years in a row.” (You just want to push him out the shot right now, don’t you?) “You know what I’m saying, man? That’s crazy.” (So you’ve got to block for this guy now.)” That’s what I’m saying! He’s talking all this crap before the game. We’re cool, though. We’re cool. Oh yeah, for sure. We’ve got a little bond out here, he’s a cool guy. So come Saturday, we’re getting between the white lines, it’s no Gulfport-St. Martin. It’s one team, one brotherhood. One team.”
Both the north and south teams will have another two-a-day tomorrow, leading up to Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. kickoff at Gulfport’s Milner Stadium.