For most of the seniors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, Friday night’s Subway All-Star High School football game signaled the end of their prep career.
But for West Florida’s Nate Crawford and Gulf Breeze’s Austin Droogsma, it was just a warmup.
Crawford and Droogsma now will turn around and head south to Sebring to take part in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Football Classic on Wednesday.
The game will be played at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fireman’s Field.
“It’s a really big honor and I’m really fortunate to be playing in it,” Droogsma said. “There’s going to be great talent there, and it’s really a great opportunity to be with all of these other great players.
“The state of Florida is such a powerhouse for football, and I’m just really excited to be playing in it.”
Droogsma and Crawford will represent the North squad in the game. Other notable members of the North team include Gainesville quarterback Mark Cato, Godby running back Khalid Thomas and Florida High linebacker Tevin Floyd.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of that game,” Crawford said. “That lets you know that not only people in your city recognize what you’re doing, but people in your entire state recognize what you’re doing.
“I’m looking forward to competing with the best in the state. I want to see where I’m at and see what I need to work on to get to that level.”
Droogsma said he’s most looking forward to meeting players from across the state and making new friends.
“Even when I go to football camps, it’s the camaraderie with the guys is always the best thing,” Droogsma said. “That’s what I always look forward to the most. Getting to know new people. That’s my favorite part, going there and meeting new people.”
One of those new friends could end up being an old adversary. Droogsma and Crawford competed against each other many times over the last two seasons as the Dolphins and Jaguars duked it out for the District 1-5A title.
“I’m just glad he’s on my team,” Droogsma said of Crawford. ” I haven’t been able to get to know him a whole lot, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting the chance to sit and talk with him for a little bit and just hang out a little bit.”