For approximately two hours, they battled.
After spending several weeks training, Shoemaker culminated its spring practice schedule with its annual Blue and White Game on Friday evening.
During the contest, the teams went back and forth, fighting for every yard and every loose ball.
Once the game was over, however, so was the rivalry.
“This was a very competitive game,” Grey Wolves head coach Toby Foreman said, “but I told them at the end, ‘Now, the Blue and the White are coming together.’
“I’ve been putting all these kids in one dressing room so they can bond and come together. It doesn’t matter if they are in the ninth or 11th grade, and I think that’s helped a lot too, so I’m really pleased with the way they jelled and meshed.”
The White team emerged from the spring game with a 21-14 victory, but winning was not the most important accomplishment, according to running back Deandre Exford, who echoed Foreman’s sentiments.
“We’re all pretty close now,” he said. “Nine times out of 10, we’re always in the same area, and we all get along well. There are never any fights, and good things are happening.
“You have to have good chemistry to have a good team.”
The White team found the end zone first as Exford broke free for a long touchdown run, but the Blue team responded with a game-tying touchdown minutes later.
The deadlock did not last though as Chad Bowman crossed the goal line on a 15-yard run, giving the White team a 14-7 advantage it would take into halftime.
Following the break, the Blue team tied the score once again, but the White team reclaimed the advantage with a touchdown and secured the outcome by recovering a fumble with time dwindling.
“We have a lot of depth,” Foreman said. “We had 118 guys dress out for today’s game, and we made it through the spring without any major injuries. That’s the most important thing for me.
“But we’ve come a long way, because we are going to have a very young team next season.”
They Grey Wolves are losing several key contributors from their roster, including defensive tackle Nathalon Nanai, cornerback William Hooper, running back Ozias Wright, defensive end Darrell Crowder and safety James Parker, who each landed on the all-district list as seniors.
Despite the losses, Shoemaker has plenty of pieces to build around as it prepares for next season, but there is still a lot of work to do before opening its schedule at San Angelo Central on Aug. 31.
And although the annual spring game marks the Grey Wolves’ final practice until two-a-days begin, it does not signify the end of their improvements.
“We’ve got to have a good summer,” Foreman said, “and that means we need commitment from the older guys to be good examples for the younger guys.
“I’m expecting a packed house in the weight room every day. We’ll have some camps and some 7-on-7, but I expect everyone to be killing it in the weight room.”