SIGNING DAY FEATURE: From Little League to Signing Day
RICHMOND - It was a play that they made up and, funny enough, it ended up working to win the game.
That's how Foster defensive lineman Chidozie Nwankwo tells the story. It was he and Ryan Stubblefield's senior year with the Pecan Grove Gators. Playing in the game before the Super Bowl at Hall Stadium against the New Territory Knights, they drew it up.
"'He was like Dot you getting the ball?'," Nwankwo said with a laugh. "I got the ball, I ran it and scored dragging five people into the end zone with me."
Now nearly six years later, the kids that played Little League together sate at a table inside the Foster High School gym.
Nwankwo wearing a red University of Houston pullover, throwing up the UH sign and Stubblefield to his left wearing purple East Carolina University gear.
It was a perfect picture. The childhood friends both signing Division I scholarships to play football.
"We ate together, we grinded together and now we're here signing together," Stubblefield said. "It's a big part of our life."
Nwankwo added: "We came a long, long way. I'm proud of him, I know he's proud of me."
What's ironic about them signing with the schools they did is the childhood and high school teammates are now going to be college foes in the American Athletic Conference.
"That's my best friend since we were babies," Nwankwo said. "To go up against him I'm happy. I can't wait."
The first meeting would come in 2021 when East Carolina is set to come to TDECU Stadium.
"It's going to be fun but at the same time we're both there to win a game, so he might get done up a couple of plays, he might get me a couple times," Stubblefield said about facing him down the road. "But at the end of the day he's my brother, I love him to death."
So, will there be any trash talk at the line during their first meeting?
"I'm going to give him a little bit of trash talk," Stubblefield laughed. "But at the end of the day I'm not going to give him too much because I know how he gets when he gets trash talk. He's going to be trying to kill me."
When that game comes, Foster coach Shaun McDowell will be in attendance.
"You can bet that I'm going to be at that game when they play each other," McDowell said.
Next year will be a weird for the friends being across the country from each other.
Since they were little they've always been "close knit" and being thousands of miles a part from each other won't change anything for the former Pecan Groves Gators teammates.
"I'm still going to call him every day," Stubblefield said. "Make sure he's getting to his workouts, eating the right food and everything. He's going to do the same for me."