Former Lincoln, Leon standouts now starters at Stillman College

Former Lincoln, Leon standouts now starters at Stillman College

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Former Lincoln, Leon standouts now starters at Stillman College

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Eric Childs and Sean Allen were not on speaking terms a year ago during football season.

The high school seniors knew of each other only by their school colors — Childs in the green, gold and white of Lincoln; Allen the red of white of Leon.

Bitter and emotional rivals by any stroke. Undefeated Lincoln (5-0) and Leon (1-4) resume their series tonight at 7 at Cox Stadium.

“We were just laughing about that,” Allen said on Thursday.

“Last year at this time we couldn’t stand each other. Now we are teammates, brothers who have each other’s back.”

Childs and Allen are teammates and roommates at Division II Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Both are starters for the Tigers (4-2), a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Childs made his fourth consecutive start at middle linebacker in Thursday’s home game against Tuskegee. He’s the team’s fourth leading tackler, registering double-digit efforts the past two games with a fumble recovery.

Allen is the team’s punter, averaging 37.1 yards with a long of 58. He also has landed 11 punts inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, and added a pass completion on a fake punt.

Ed Walker, the Tigers’ linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, credits both players for handling the testy transition from high school to college. Former FSU defensive back Dedrick Dodge is the team’s defensive coordinator.

“We are looking for kids who have leadership, championship qualities and the discipline to take that next step,” said Walker, a former player at the University of Alabama.

“One of the things we try to do is bring that D-I atmosphere to the D-II level, and it takes special players who want to make that commitment.”

Childs and Allen actually met for the first time at last year’s North Florida-Georgia All-Star game. It wasn’t a warm, fuzzy introduction despite the fact the players were headed in the same direction following graduation.

That probably isn’t surprising, considering the Leon-Lincoln rivalry is one of the Big Bend’s top rivalries regardless of the Trojans’ recent domination.

“One of the players mentioned that the Leon punter was headed to Stillman, too, but I really didn’t want to talk to him,” Childs said and laughed.

“It’s just the Lincoln-Leon rivalry, it’s the one that runs Tallahassee and one of those games you are always ready for.”

Allen and Childs were officially introduced when they reported for preseason practice at Stillman three months ago.

This time, their connection was Tallahassee — and not rivals from opposing high schools. They agreed to be dormitory roommates and now are close friends.

“We are both clean freaks so it has worked out great,” Childs said.

Of course, both will be following tonight’s Lincoln-Leon game. And don’t worry.

Regardless of the outcome, the two promise to remain on speaking terms. Their bond is the same school colors of blue and gold.

“We watch out for each other and keep each others head on straight,” Allen said.

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