1. Archive

Teammates now, but Florida-FSU rivals always

They may be playing on the same team this week, but it didn't take long for the friendly feuding to begin among members of Florida's high school football all-star team.

All it took was an introduction of two roommates, Hernando High graduate Jermaine Green and Hillsborough High product Thomas Miller.

"We talked," Green said. "I asked him where he was going and he said, "Florida.' That started it off right there."

While Miller thinks about beginning his college career in Gainesville, Green is making plans to begin his at Florida State University.

But for one night, the Gators-Seminoles rivalry goes on hold.

Instead, 35 of the Sunshine State's top graduated high school football players will band together to meet 35 of the best from the Peach State for an all-star game known as Florida-Georgia IX.

"We're all one team," Miller said, "and we know that."

Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Game-day tickets cost $10 for adults and $4 for students, with proceeds benefiting the Florida Elks Children's Hospital in Umatilla.

Florida leads the series 4-3-1 and won 23-7 last year, picking up a 16-yard touchdown run from former Hernando High star and current UF running back Dwayne Mobley before a bench-clearing brawl erupted and 14 players were ejected.

Notable Florida players this year include the FSU-bound passing combination of Pace quarterback Thad Busby and receiver Andre Cooper of Jacksonville Beach-Fletcher; Winter Park running back Terrance Foy, a UF recruit who had 15 scoring runs of 50 or more yards last season; and Fort Myers defensive back Jammi German, a Miami signee who was named Florida's first Mr. Football.

The Florida roster includes two other Tampa Bay area standouts, Clearwater High defensive back Phillip Nash and Tarpon Springs-East Lake kicker Steve Riggs. Nash is headed for Syracuse and Riggs is going to Weber State.

But the majority of Florida all-stars are staying in-state: Nine are Gators recruits, seven will be Seminoles, and three plan to play for Miami.

"All the Florida schools are doing a lot of talking," Miller said, "but it's all in good fun."

"The Gators and Seminoles _ we argue about it all the time," said Green, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound defensive back. "We put each down and talk at each other _ basically, who will win next year and "We're going to beat you,' all that kind of stuff."

Miller, who missed practice early in the week after sustaining a deep shin bruise, let it be known where he's headed shortly after arriving in Orlando for a week of workouts and sightseeing.

"All the Gators _ we just kind of sought each other out," he said. "I came dressed in fully Florida clothing, so that kind of gave it away."

"Somebody said, "I'm going to be a 'Nole,'

" Green said, "and I started to find out like that. Now we all hang together."

For one game, though, Gators and 'Noles will have to work together.

"We're playing for the same cause Saturday," said Miller, a 5-11, 175-pound defensive back. "and it's Florida against Georgia."

After then, Miller's prepared to be true to his school.

"Later," he said of his roommate with a laugh, "later, hey, I don't even know (Green) later."