(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) When lining up against Bishop LeBlond or Maryville last season, it was important to keep an eye on running back/linebacker Austin Dawkins and quarterback Jonathan Baker.
The 37th Annual Lions All-Star Game gave them and dozens of other high school standouts one last opportunity to don their alma mater's helmet.
It also marked the end of the Spoofhound signal caller having to avoid his conference rival's pass rush.
Dawkins and Baker lined up on the same side of the ball on Saturday just as they'll soon do at Northwest.
"They'll get in there and get their snaps and do what they can do," Maryville head coach Matt Webb said. "It's going to be a lot of fun to watch them play."
Those two, along with Lafayette's Bryce Denton, make up some former MEC foes about to become brothers-in-arms at Bearcat Stadium.
"It's a big shock, honestly," Baker said. "You see him across from you all the time and, to witness that up close... he is a great leader and the guys buy into him."
"I've always liked Jonathan and I've always liked [Maryville]," Dawkins said. 'They're very respectful. I've never had a problem with Maryville. It'll be awesome playing with him next year."
This week of two-a-days in Warrensburg leading up the Lions All-Star Game at Central Missouri gave the former Spoofhound a chance to see the former Eagle in his backfield as a teammate rather than a defender.
"We've grown through the week and it just helped a ton to play with him throughout the week. I think it'll be great with him in the future at Northwest."
"We stayed in contact as soon as football was over," Baker added. "We're already talking about plans for next year so it should be good."
Raised mere miles from Northwest's campus, Baker is no stranger to Bearcat Football. He's happy to pluck Dawkins away from St. Joe, but that didn't stop him from hooking up with Central Grad and future Missouri Western Griffon Chad Bruder on his first touchdown this weekend.
"Yeah, don't remind me about that. Chad's a great guy and I've known him since we were really little. Hooking up with him like that, you hate that he's a Griffon, but he's a great player and they've got good talent going there."
But Baker and his fellow All-State performer will be Bearcats through and through the next time they suit up together on Saturday.
"They know where they're going together. They're for northwest," Webb said. "They're looking forward to it with some chemistry. They've got a leg up with friendships and it was just a really enjoyable experience."
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