From being teammates on the playgrounds to facing off in high school, South Putnam's Drew Christy and Cloverdale's Chase Haltom have a long history.
In the fall, Haltom would line up as quarterback in kelly green and white, while Christy attempted to pick off his passes. In the winter, they faced each other on the basketball court, guarding each other, knowing each other's head fakes, knowing every next step.
"It's fun," Haltom said of playing against Christy. "We know each other's moves. We seem to bring out the best in each other."
For 18 years, the two friends have challenged each other, raising expectations and leading one another to be the best -- not only on the playing field, but off the court and in the classroom. Haltom and Christy are not only top athletes in their schools, they are also at the top of their class and leaders in their communities. Because of their efforts, they will both be honored by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Saturday in a jacket and tie affair at the Indianapolis Colts Pavilion.
Haltom and Christy earned the prestigious Scholar Athlete Award, which is awarded to only 12 student athletes in Indiana.
"It's awesome," Christy said of the honor, "just because the fact that they only picked 12 people, especially with someone like Chase."
In the fall, Christy ran for 1,241 yards and 20 touchdowns on offense, while racking up 30 solo tackles and two interceptions on defense for South Putnam. Haltom had 37 solo tackles and six interceptions at defensive back while also leading the Clovers from the quarterback position.
In the winter, Christy averaged 8.3 points and 5.7 assists per game, while Haltom put up an average of 23.3 points, 4.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the regular season while breaking the Cloverdale boys' basketball team's school record for points in a career.
But through it all, one thing has remained constant -- academics.
Christy has already been named valedictorian while Haltom is currently No. 1 in his class.
"Homework is the number one priority," Haltom said. "You just do whatever it takes to get it done."
Haltom is the first player in Cloverdale history to receive the award, while Christy joins Curt Cummings as the second Eagle to earn the honor.
"They don't give it to anybody unless their academics are very high," Former South Putnam Coach Mark Wildman said. "They don't just give to anybody that just stands out on a team. There are academic and athletic qualifications both."
Christy and Haltom have both impressed their coaches. Wildman said Christy always led by example and made the right choices both on and off the field.
Cloverdale Coach Jamie Steffy said Haltom was a great competitor and leader, who played the game with the respect it deserved.
"The kid never missed practice," Steffy said. "You never heard him complain. Whenever he was asked to do something, it was always, 'yes, Coach Steffy.' I think that's what will always stick in my mind about Chase."
Although Haltom is still undecided about future college plans, he plans to major in Pre-med with hopes of going on to medical school one day.
Christy's plans are similar. He has narrowed his collegiate search to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Purdue University, planning to major in engineering. He also hopes to attend medical school, aspiring to become an orthopedic surgeon
Needless to say, both of them have big goals.
"They know the bigger picture," Steffy said. "I think this is a special trait that both of them have. They know that sports are only a minor part of their life."
Rick Minter, defensive coordinator of the University of Notre Dame, will be the guest speaker Saturday. Minter was previously the defensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina and head coach of the University of Cincinnati.
Haltom and Christy will be hitting the playing field one more time March 24, competing for the South team in the Wabash Valley All-Star game at Rose-Hulman.
Wildman will be head coach of the South team, while Steffy will be an assistant coach for the squad.