Both parties insist the heated action is in the good nature of competition at University of Washington fall football camp.
Could be a Pierce County grudge match, too.
Receiver Jermaine Kearse (Lakes High) and cornerback Desmond Trufant (Wilson High) have been on each other like jam on peanut butter – except at times over the past two days, this has the feel of a personal feud.
On Wednesday night, Trufant took exception to Kearse’s downfield blocking, and the two locked up – only to be separated by cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin and a scrimmage referee.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The key moment came on the heels of the two standouts – and leaders at their respective positions – jawing at each other most of practice.
“That is just football,” Trufant said. “Ain’t nothing past that.”
During one-on-one coverage drills Thursday, Trufant tailed Kearse on a sideline pattern. The two went up for the ball, and the sophomore defensive back knocked it out of Kearse’s hands.
Animated and very demonstrative, Trufant barreled to the sideline yelling, “Stopped, stopped!”
“Me and Tru, we’re like each other’s arch-nemesis,” Kearse said. “It’s like Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Darth Vader (in Star Wars).”
Trufant admitted this whole rivalry thing started when the two were South Sound prep stars.
Kearse was a News Tribune All-Area receiver, and while Trufant didn’t enjoy the same kind of team success at Wilson, he was considered a formidable cover man.
“I just heard in Lakewood, people were saying there was a guy (Kearse) who could route me up,” Trufant said.
That might explain why the two go at it all the time – “in the lunchroom, or meetings or whatever,” said Jimmie Dougherty, the Huskies receivers coach.
“That’s where the spotlight is really big – it’s one-on-one, just you and him,” Dougherty said. “And with them, it’s good-on-good.”
OK, maybe the “heat” of the rivalry is far-fetched. Kearse was seen patting his younger teammate on the back late in practice.
“I want to be the best (cornerback) he sees, and I want him to be the best (receiver) I see,” Trufant said. “In a game, it’s all going to pay off.”
Former UW coach Don James was an onlooker at practice Thursday – with his wife, Carol. The 77-year-old was scheduled to be a guest speaker at a Huskies marching band fundraiser later in the day. ... Offensive tackle Senio Kelemete (sprained ankle) did not practice. ... Receiver James Johnson (ankle) aggravated his injury early in practice and did light jogging on the stadium stairs.