INDIANAPOLIS — From rivals on the wrestling mat to allies on the gridiron, Culver's Jeremiah Harvey and Plymouth's Damon Howe have come full circle.
The Marshall County heavyweights, who clashed several times in last winter's IHSAA State Wrestling Tournament culminating in a championship showdown under the spotlight at Conseco Fieldhouse in February, have both been selected to man the offensive line for the North at the 2011 Grange Insurance/IFCA North-South All-Star Game next month.
Even more than mere teammates, the former wrestling rivals will be rooming together as the annual all-star classic kicks off July 15, an unusual arrangement since both are offensive linemen, and OL players are generally pared with defensive linemen prior to the game.
"It was pretty funny because what they had us do, they split us up into offense and defense and me and Harvey were both towards the back of the pack," said Howe. "They said 'Offense line up on one side of the room and defense line up on the other side of the room and everybody select your roommate.' I started walking over there, and I asked around and everybody already had a roommate. I talked to the coach and said 'Hey, Coach, I don't have a roommate,' and he said just to go up and tell them there were no more roommates. I go up there and I hear the coach go 'Hey, he doesn't have a roommate.' I looked to see who it was, and it was Harvey and I just started laughing."
"In wrestling, we were kind of rivals, but when we're not in wrestling me and Damon get along," said Harvey. "We're pretty cool, we joke around. I see him around sometimes; I saw him just the other day, and we talked about each other's seasons.
"I think it's pretty cool for me and Damon to work together in a different sport," he added. "I don't think Damon is irritated with me or anything. We're pretty chill, and we work good together."
The North-South All-Star Game will take place on Friday, July 15 at North Central High School in Indianapolis with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The South leads the series 23-21 and both Howe and Harvey are looking to chip away at that advantage while representing their respective programs among the best in the state.
"I kind of look at this as an opportunity for myself, Culver and my community," Harvey said. "I've got to put us on the map and show what Culver is doing that's good."
"I'm the type of player that's real competitive," said Howe. "I want to play against the best. I want to be with the best. It's going to be a good experience to go up against the best and see if all my previous hard work has paid off and see if I can really compete against the best in the state."
But while the duo is hoping to capture a win at the July classic, both Harvey — listed at 6'2" and 280 pounds — and Howe — listed at 6'1" and 290 — say that just being selected is an honor.
"To be considered one of the best in the state of Indiana is a great honor," said Howe. "It's something I've been working for my whole high school career, and it's just nice to know all of my hard work has paid off in being able to play in the North-South All-Star game with the best of the best in Indiana."
"This is truly an honor to play this game," said Harvey. "I think it's going to be pretty huge for Culver for me to play in it, too, and I'm just looking forward to playing in it."
Proceeds from the North-South game benefit Camp Riley and The Indiana Football Hall of Fame. Howe has signed his letter of commitment to play for the University of Findlay in Ohio, while Harvey is considering offers from Ball State.