MORGANTOWN - Dustin Garrison will be on West Virginia's sideline Friday night at Mountaineer Field and Trey Anderson will be on Pitt's sideline. The roots of their relationship would have it no other way.
Garrison, leading the Mountaineers as a freshman running back with 600 yards rushing and 5.5 yards per carry this season, had just moved into his new house in Pearland, Texas, and looked at the driveway across the street.
There was Anderson, who today is Pitt's backup quarterback, shooting a basketball in his driveway.
"I go outside for a second and sit on my porch and I see him shooting," Garrison said. "He looks at me and he's like, 'Hey, come over.'
"Well, I don't know anything about the guy and I don't care, so I get up and leave. Just go inside, don't even acknowledge that I saw him. Get up, leave, go inside."
Time went on in their neighborhood in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, and Anderson remembered more of the same even as they'd grown up and walked the same halls and played on the same team at Pearland High.
"I'm outside mowing my yard and he's just sitting there watching me," Anderson said. "I realize I'm the one doing all the hard work, sweating like crazy, and he's sitting on his little porch outside with a lollipop or something."
It would seem appropriate they remain on opposite sides for the 7 p.m. Backyard Brawl on ESPN, but don't be suckered into thinking they're enemies.
"Throughout high school, we were best friends," Garrison said.
"He's an awesome guy, a class act," Anderson said.
Their bond is too tight to be undone by a "Backyard Brawl" game between the Panthers (5-5, 3-2 Big East) and the Mountaineers (7-3, 3-2). They're fastened by the feats and frustrations they experienced together.
They participated in the greatest play in the history of Pearland High, something known simply as "Dead Man," a devilish trick play the Oilers sprung in a state championship game.
Ahead 14-10 in the third quarter and standing on their 46-yard line, the Oilers lined up for a play before the guards and tackles on the offensive line stood up.
Those four, plus Anderson, Garrison, another running back and the three receivers looked toward the sideline. Garrison pulled his right hand up toward his ear, as if to say he couldn't hear his coaches.
"He crossed his legs and looked over to the sideline like he didn't know what was going on," Anderson said. "It was perfect acting."
The center kept his head down and waited for when the defense stood up and dropped its guard. He snapped the ball to Anderson, who threw it along the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown.