ORLANDO — During their illustrious prep careers, quarterbacks Jack Allison and Malik Henry both spent time in Manatee County, just 125 miles southwest of where they competed Saturday in the Under Armour High School All-America Game.
Allison, a four-star senior at Palmetto, and Henry, a California native who spent six months at IMG Academy in 2015, will soon continue down similar paths as early enrollees at Miami and Florida State, respectively.
But before they represent the future of those state schools, Allison and Henry combined for 158 yards passing and three touchdowns to lead Team Highlight to a 27-0 victory against Team Armour in front of an announced crowd of 24,186 at the Citrus Bowl.
The game was a defensive battle early, but Team Highlight got on the board with less than three minutes left in the first quarter when Henry hit Eddie McDoom on a 12-yard touchdown pass after a Team Armour turnover.
Henry struck again in the fourth quarter, connecting with A.J. Brown on an 8-yard touchdown pass to cement the final score.
In the second quarter, Allison had back-to-back successful drives. He first hit Brown on a 53-yard pass to help set up a 23-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal before connecting with fellow Miami commit Dionte Mullins on a 24-yard touchdown pass minutes later.
"It was 'Cane to 'Cane, for sure," said Allison, smiling. "It was awesome."
Mullins, who was Allison's roommate in Orlando during the week of Under Armour practice, said he enjoyed getting a head start on building chemistry with his future teammate.
"I thought it was going to be an over-the-shoulder pass, but it wasn't. It was kind of short to my inside shoulder on the left," Mullins said of the eye-catching, one-handed grab. "So when I turned around, I just went up with my right hand to catch the pass."
Like Henry did to Florida State, Allison committed to Miami more than a year ago during the summer before his junior season.
He, too, will be an early enrollee at Miami, the school he proudly stuck by despite its recent coaching change.
"I'm close to home, but I'm far enough away to call it college. It's the perfect fit, and now that Coach (Mark) Richt is in there, it's even more perfect," Allison said. "The coach might change, but the U will always be the U."
Henry and Allison met each other long before joining forces in the UA game, as both competed with the 7-on-7 squad Team Tampa.
Henry's first stint in Florida was cut short last summer when IMG coach Kevin Wright announced Henry would not be returning to the Ascenders. But starting Sunday, the four-star recruit from Long Beach Poly will again be a Florida resident.
Henry said he is heading to Tallahassee and can't wait to get started for the Seminoles in hopes of competing for the starting quarterback job next season.
And one day soon, the former Manatee boys might meet again — this time on opposite sides of the football field.
"Jack's a great quarterback. Even though he's going to the other side of Florida, it's okay. We still love each other," Henry said. "I can't wait to be playing against him on Saturday nights."
Contact Kelly Parsons at [email protected] Follow @_kellyparsons.