Blake Bell and Blake Jablonski have a lot in common on the football field, but their friendship was cultivated on the basketball court.
After meeting a decade ago as members of a youth basketball team, the two have continued to stay friends as they emerged as the premier quarterbacks in the area.
At Bishop Carroll, Bell has thrown for 2,011 yards with 25 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing touchdowns in nine games. At Collegiate, Jablonski has thrown for 2,735 yards with 37 passing touchdowns in 10 games.
Not bad for a duo that always dreamed of dominating two-on-two basketball competitions.
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"It's funny because we played baseball, too, but would spend most of the time talking about basketball," Jablonski said. "We didn't talk much about football at all."
Bell and Jablonski still hold their own on the court, but what they've done on the football field has outshined their basketball glory.
They share the same first name. They both lead undefeated teams. They both have pinpoint accuracy on short passes and the long ball. Coincidentally, they both wear No. 10.
They first played football together as members of the Wichita Tigers. Bell, a tight end at the time, had been playing football for a couple of seasons before Jablonski joined the team in the sixth grade.
"I was a little scrawny dude back then," Jablonski said. "I was just trying to prepare for middle school football. He was already good."
While they went their separate ways for middle school and high school, the two keep up with each other despite busy schedules. Jablonski was able to check out Bell last season in the playoffs when the Eagles faced McPherson. Bell and his family returned the favor Tuesday night, watching Jablonski and the Spartans beat Garden Plain 51-20.
"I hadn't had a chance to really see him, but it was really fun," Bell said. "They seem to run the same offense, but theirs is a little more wide open," Bell said. "I'm happy to see other good prospects from Wichita, especially ones like him that I grew up with."
Bell's Eagles play host to Newton in a Class 5A first-round game tonight, while Collegiate is home against Hillsboro on Saturday.
Bell will be turning in his Carroll green and gold at the end of the year for Oklahoma crimson and cream. Jablonski is undecided on where he will go to college and what sport he will play.
"My favorite sport is the one I'm playing at the time," Jablonski said.
While the two always thought they'd grow up to be good athletes, neither ever thought they'd have a season like this. The only thing that could be better is if they were enjoying this success wearing the same uniform, Bell said.
"I wouldn't be afraid to line up some and play wide receiver. I've done it before," Bell said. "I think we'd be a very dangerous combination."