A mere 1.8 miles is all that separates the campuses of Pensacola High and Catholic High School.
Friday night, the Tigers will play host to the Crusaders as several lifelong friendships will turn into rivalry for four quarters.
Especially when you look at the match up between PHS’ receivers and Catholic’s secondary.
“I’m gonna have to go up against my best friend, Simeon Smiley,” said PHS’ leading receiver Deandre Norman (15 rec., 201 yards, 3 TDs), referring to the Catholic DB and 2015 PNJ Super Senior. “We’ve got a really good friendship … it started at Scenic Heights Elementary. We’re real close, we call each other now and then. But on the field, I gotta handle my business.”
Also in the Tigers’ receiving corps, Calif Gossett (9 rec., 150 yards, 2 TDs) said he will see some familiar faces in Catholic’s secondary.
“I’ve got a couple friends who play DB over (at Catholic),” Gossett said. “ Simeon Smiley, Shaun Stewart … it’s just fun to play against people you know. Especially when they are good, it helps you compete. It might feel like a backyard football game for a little on Friday night.”
The Tigers will be seeking a bounce-back win, after falling short in a 24-16 battle at Tate last week.
“We’ve been having a good week of practice,” Norman said. “We’ve been listening to coaches, working on our assignments and trying to correct things from last week.
“As receivers, we’ve got to stay focused and execute. Sed (Smith) will get us the ball. We just gotta get up field and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Norman also holds close ties with one of Catholic’s receivers — Kerrick Teamer — a freshman.
“That’s my little cousin,” said Norman, the senior. “Ever since we’ve been playing football, he always told me he’s gonna be better than me. He might be bigger than me, but he’s still my little cousin. I’m always gonna try to help him.
“I feel like his game will be good for Catholic, and he will only get better in the future.”
Want to go?
What: Catholic Crusaders vs. Pensacola High Tigers
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Pensacola High
Skinny: PHS erupted in the first half to hold on for a 25-17 win last season at Catholic.
Radio: ESPN Pensacola 101.1 FM / 1450 AM