Brian Allen and Kendall Hill were teammates on some of La Marque High School’s most successful football teams, so it’s no surprise the two remain close even though they ended up at opposing Pac-12 Conference schools.
“We talk and make sure each other’s head is right and tell each other ‘I love you’ every now and then,” Allen said.
The Sunday before Allen’s 21st-ranked Utah Utes played Hill’s Oregon State Beavers, the former teammates had an extended conversation with each other on FaceTime, a routine occurrence.
But, it’s not just former teammates who have maintained their friendships since their high school playing days.
Allen and Hill have also stayed in contact with players they competed against in high school, including former Ball High standout Mike Evans.
Hill regularly exchanges text messages with Evans, especially when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver has a good game, and Allen has stayed in touch with Evans through social media.
“He’s a great guy,” Hill said of Evans. “He’s never too big to keep in touch with you.”
Hill has also kept in contact with Texas City’s D’Onta and Armanti Foreman at the University of Texas, as well as former Longhorn and Clear Springs standout Marcus Johnson, who was recently a member of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad.
Make no mistake, when Hill faced his fellow Galveston County rivals in high school, he wanted to win — badly. The same held true playing against Allen in college.
“I want to win every game. I don’t care who it’s against,” he said. “I could be playing a little kid in a video game, and I want to win. That’s just the competitive nature that I have.”
However, away from the field, the group now shares a bond as members of a fraternity of county athletes who have not only furthered their playing careers, but also themselves.
“It’s a big step for the Galveston County area to show kids that it’s possible to make it out of there and go off and do greater things,” Hill said. “It’s a great group of guys, great group of friends.”
Several members of this year’s senior class from schools countywide will be playing at Division I colleges next fall. Among them are the McCollum twins — Zyon and Tristin — from Ball High, who are both committed to Utah, following in Allen’s footsteps.
Allen hasn’t met the McCollums, but he did ask his position coach about them after learning two players from his county rival were going to be playing for the Utes.
Even though Allen, a senior, won’t have the chance to play with the two, he did offer some advice for the twin brothers who will be making a transition similar to the one he made when he left La Marque for Salt Lake City in 2012.
“You really don’t have to feel like you’re different than anybody because we’re one of the most diverse teams in the country with 1/3 black, 1/3 white and 1/3 Polynesian (players),” Allen said. “Once you get here, you’ll get along with everybody. It won’t be a hard adjustment at all. They’ve just got to trust it and believe in themselves.”
And trust they will have the support of their county brotherhood along the way, as well.