Anyone on the sideline, close to the action, had to notice that there was a little something extra going on between Jacobby Dinwiddie and Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson.
The two were getting after it all game long on Friday night as Mountain View’s top wide receiver, Dinwiddie, and Mountain Pointe’s Pleasant-Johnson, a cornerback, were on the same side of the field for most of the Pride’s 35-3 win.
It was more than the two quality athletes trying to get the best of each other in one-on-one matchups.
There was emotion, respect and familiarity between the two competitors.
And for good reason.
Their earliest memories as little kids are of each other. Their moms are best of friends and the boys essentially grew up with each other. They’ve been battling each other – whether it was video games or who made the best ramen noodles or red zone jump balls – ever since.
“We call each other blood brothers,” Dinwiddie said. “We’ve known each since we were born. We grew up together and were rarely apart. We always played games and competed for everything.”
Boredom meant heading outside and practicing against each other.
“We’ve always had each other’s back,” Pleasant-Johnson said. “When we got bored we would go out and run routes and be competitive with each other.”
Where one was, there was the other.
That seemed to be the case last night as well. Were No. 13 was, No. 31 was right there with him.
Twice in the red zone they had to battle for the ball.
In a jump ball scenario Pleasant-Johnson, whose mother Jacquel Pleasant was taken by cancer in 2011, came down with the interception. The second time, Dinwiddie ran a good route, got to the pylon, but couldn’t secure the ball. It hit him in the hands, but Pleasant-Johnson disrupted the play.
“I saw (Mountain View quarterback) Brandon (Nunez) look my way,” Pleasant-Johnson said of the interception. “I knew it was coming my way and I got the job one. It was very exciting.”
Dinwiddie knew it was going to be a battle all game.
“It was fun to go against someone who knows you,” Dinwiddie said. “He knows you better than yourself. It was fun competition. It helps you get better.”
Dinwiddie finished with seven catches for 85 yards, and had a big pass play for a TD called back because a wide receiver held to help spring him. He had a good game, but Pleasant-Johnson won in the red zone and the scoreboard.
“We were just competing out there,” Dinwiddie said. “We try and make each other better. When it was over we were taking pictures, and I will probably chill with him (on Friday night) for a little bit. We both made some plays, but I should have had one of those touchdowns. You learn from it.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.