Robbie Rhodes and Wesley Harris walk, talk and breathe competition.
The Fort Worth Southwest High School pair can often be found on a football field, basketball court, playing video games or in some other activity where a winner and loser can be declared.
Harris described Rhodes as one of the best athletes he's ever seen, but says he is "always talking smack." Rhodes said he respects Harris' aversion to losing and is nearly impossible to beat in video games "because he'll cheat."
"He always seems to beat me in Madden by a field goal or something," Rhodes said. "Wesley is the kind of player who will cheat, though. I'm always having to check the settings in the game to make sure he hasn't messed my team up."
Rhodes and Harris, who are related by marriage, have competed against one another since kindergarten and have been teammates since their Wedgwood Middle School days.
"They hang out a lot together, they are really close and almost like brothers," Southwest football coach Lanny Trammell said. "What's funny is that they get to fussing at one another and it's almost comical. They're pretty tight and operate well together."
The two are preparing for one final run as Raider athletes, starting with football in the fall. Harris is the quarterback, Rhodes the wideout. They set the bar high in 2011-12, turning in record-setting and championship performances in three sports.
The duo treated their District 6-4A football showdown with Fort Worth Arlington Heights last October as another game of Madden on Xbox.
"I wasn't really thinking about records, I was just worried about the game," Rhodes said. "They posted up the records and stuff on the JumboTron and the fans, teachers and kids just started cheering and congratulating us. I was stunned."
Rhodes and Harris led the Raiders to an eye-opening 66-21 victory in front of their homecoming crowd that night and broke or tied several national and state records in the process.
Rhodes, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, caught 10 passes for 394 yards and eight touchdowns. The 394 yards ranks sixth nationally all time and is a Texas high school record, while the eight scores tied the national mark and set a state standard.
Harris, a 6-1, 180-pound left-handed quarterback, was 20-for-30 passing for 562 yards and nine scores, setting a single-game state record for touchdown passes and falling just one shy of tying the national mark.
"I was just trying to let it all sink in after the game," Harris said. "We had never done anything like that before or witnessed anything like that before, ever. I was amazed by it."
The Raiders went on to claim the 6-4A title but lost in the first round of the playoffs by Saginaw Boswell.
The pair shifted gears to the hardwood, where they led Southwest to a fourth-place finish in the ultra competitive and historically significant Fort Worth district. Rhodes earned Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors in 6-4A and the Raiders made a playoff run to the Region I quarterfinals before falling to Arlington Heights.
"Wes is able to see things that other guys just can't and has an incredible feel for the flow of the game," Southwest basketball coach John Church said. "We'd be talking about a Division I college-caliber player if he devoted himself fully to basketball. Robbie can fly -- I think he had 12 dunks in one game against a district opponent last season.
"I've never seen anybody more coachable than Robbie, and he's just a hard worker and great leader by example."
Track and field
Next, it was on to the track for the duo to display their blazing speed.
Rhodes claimed the 4A state title in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.06 seconds in May. The tandem also took home a gold medal in the 4x100 relay (40.899 seconds) and a silver in the 4x200 (1:25.45).
The Raiders finished in second place in team points behind Lancaster.
Their success as juniors not only created excitement for the upcoming season on the Southwest campus but led to national attention from the media and college recruiters.
Rhodes eventually had to change his cellphone number. He verbally committed to play football at Baylor in June after fielding offers from several Big 12 schools.
Harris, who is projected as a cornerback at the next level, currently holds an offer from Louisiana Tech but has also talked with TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
The senior quarterback added that he and Rhodes remain unfazed by the heightened expectations heading into the fall.
"This is our last season and it's something we talk about and have been working for all off-season," Harris said. "I don't feel any added pressure, I just feel like we should try and go out there and win each game, on each night by at least one point."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760