Robert Frazier and Isaiah Williams see eye-to-eye on many things issues, dreams, hopes. Of course, it helps that they're both about 5-foot-7 and the high school seniors are nearly clones in body, achievement and grins.
Elk Grove's Frazier and Burbank's Williams, both first-team halfbacks on The Bee's All-Metro team, will suit up in their gouged, school-color helmets a final time Saturday in the 56th Optimist All-Star Football Classic at Del Oro. It's one last time to go off tackle, to sprint toward the end zone and to expand their recruiting profile.
Despite having earned reputations as two of the hardest runners in the region and compiled outlandish statistics, Frazier and Williams have learned there's little demand in college football for small backs. They understand that recruiters put a huge emphasis on size, but that's not about to slow them down.
"I feel like at our size, we don't pass that look test, but we can play, and we play hard," Frazier said.
Said Williams: "Oh, we're small, but we run the hardest, the fastest, and it means a lot to us to do well."
Frazier is just the second Elk Grove back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, a remarkable feat considering the Thundering Herd has played football since the 1940s. With 2,120 yards, he joined James Kidd (2,385 yards in 1991) and rushed for 22 touchdowns.
Williams rushed for 2,087 yards and 25 touchdowns, becoming the first Burbank back to surpass 2,000 yards. The Titans have played football since the 1960s.
Frazier said he likely will play for American River College or Butte College, both national community college powers. Williams said he's proud of his "great SAT scores and good GPA" and hopes to hear more from Fresno State and Northern Arizona. Otherwise, he also may attend a community college.
The South roster also includes Kyran Harris and Steven Rogers of Franklin and Isaiah Saunders of Pleasant Grove. Harris and Rogers are powerfully built 5-9, 185- pound backs with speed who have had barely a trickle of interest from recruiters.
With hundreds of high school backs in the country competing for perhaps dozens of scholarships, Saunders is one of the fortunate few. Saunders, 5-11 and 210 pounds, bulled for 1,383 yards and 16 touchdowns, and he said he appreciates his scholarship offer from Idaho.
"I do feel fortunate, really fortunate," Saunders said. "I feel great about having a scholarship. It's a lot of work. There was a sense of urgency on their part and mine. You just want to get it done."
Linemen love The South's offensive line includes two scholarship players and twins who might be on a mission.
Cosumnes Oaks' Kyle Saxelid, headed to UNLV, joked with Optimist teammates this week that he's ready for the mechanical engineering grind.
Christian Brothers' Vince Johnson, headed to Iowa State, likes to remind that he's the real athlete in the family, more than his father, Vincent, a tennis player in his youth.
Oak Ridge twins Joseph and Jason Chapman will block for Bee All-Metro quarterback Jason Samuels one last time. The Chapmans are considering a post-graduation Mormon mission.
Coming Saturday: A look at the North's skill players.