Forgive Kyle Moore if he puts a big hit, or at least tries to put a big hit, on Zach Inskeep at practice this week. It would only be natural.
Inskeep and Moore were high school football rivals while Inskeep played for Erie-Prophetstown and Moore for Newman. The two will be teammates in the 39th annual Illinois High School Shrine Game on Saturday in Bloomington.
Inskeep and Moore will be members of the West team, as will Rock Falls graduate Jonas Robbins.
Inskeep will be playing linebacker, Moore center and Robbins offensive line.
"It'll be different being on the same team," Moore said of Inskeep. "I'm pretty sure we'll scrimmage each other, so I might look to get a shot at him, and I'm sure he'll be doing the same thing."
"I'm not going to butt heads with him," Inskeep said. "I'm not going headhunting for him. That's not going to happen."
Robbins will continue his football career at NCAA Division III Augustana College in Rock Island.
"This is a huge honor. Only 88 kids in the state get selected," he said of being a Shrine Game All-Star. "And, I'm one of three players representing this area. I was kind of surprised some of my other teammates weren't selected."
Moore, who plans on attending the University of Illinois and participating in several intramural sports, jumped at the chance to suit up for possibly the last time.
"Anything to play one more football game ... to put on that Newman Blue Machine helmet one more time," he said. "Count me in. I'm ready to play."
Moore chose academics over sports when it came to college.
"Football is a sport I love a lot," he said. "I got a lot of looks from [NCAA] Division III schools, and I didn't decide what I wanted to do until April or May. But, Illinois is the school I've always wanted to go to."
Inskeep is also foregoing college athletics and will attend Black Hawk Community College.
"I had a lot of things to think about," Inskeep said. "Is all that money worth another 4 years of football? Financially, it wasn't worth it to do that to my family."
Moore plans on staying in shape and is not ruling out a return to the field.
"I thought about pushing myself this summer and trying to walk on, but this year I don't think I'll try that," he said. "But, I'm definitely not putting away the option."
Inskeep is more certain the Shrine Game will be his last football game.
"There will be some emotions," he said. "I love the game. That's for sure. It's going to be hard handing in that helmet, but life goes on."
Robbins is happy to be back in football mode.
"Ever since football ended, I've jumped from sport to sport," he said. "I was out for wrestling and baseball, but I can focus on football now. This will help me get prepared to play college football."
Shrine Game FYI
Local All-Stars: Zach Inskeep, Erie-Prophetstown; Kyle Moore, Newman; Jonas Robbins, Rock Falls
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Tucci Stadium, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington