WEBSTER CITY - They began as football teammates before venturing their separate ways. And now, more than a decade later, they'll go out as teammates as well.
It's fitting, really.
John Hill, a Buena Vista University senior running back and 2009 Webster City High School graduate, and Jordan Anderson, a senior tight end at Wartburg College and 2008 alum of Northeast Hamilton High School, have been selected to play in the Fourth Annual Tazon de Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars), which will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Dec. 15.
John Hill (32) looks for a crease as he approaches the end zone for Buena Vista against Central earlier this season. Hill, a Webster City native and BVU senior, finished his college career with 2,124 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns for the Beavers.
Hill and Anderson are among 50 Division III football players from across the country that will represent the United States on Team Stars and Stripes. The squad will face the CONADEIP All-Stars - a team comprised of Mexico's top players.
"Just to be asked to play in the all-star game against the best that Mexico has to offer, that's a big honor," Hill, a four-year letter winner at BVU, said. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Hill and Anderson first joined forces as members of the Iowa River Valley Raiders - a Pop Warner football team in Blairsburg when they were in the fifth and sixth grades.
Both went on to enjoy successful prep careers. Anderson was a starter on the Trojans' 2006 Class 8-man state championship team during his junior season and he earned all-state status as a senior.
Hill was a key ingredient on the 2008 WCHS team that helped to rejuvenate the program. He rushed for 1,424 yards - the sixth-best single-season total in school history at the time - and 17 touchdowns to help propel the Lynx to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. He earned Class 3A third-team all-state honors from the Iowa Newspaper Association for his achievements.
"To start something with someone and then finish with him too, that's pretty cool," Anderson said. "I haven't really had the chance to play against (Hill) because I was hurt this year when we played (Buena Vista), so this should be fun."
It will be a vacation of sorts, but both players say Team Stars and Stripes will make the long trip for one reason - to win.
"We've lost two of the last three years and football is America's sport, so we better go down there and win the thing," Anderson joked. "We're definitely going to take this seriously."
"This is going to be a very competitive game and I think both teams are going to take it seriously," Hill said. "It's the best in Division III against the best in Mexico, so it's going to be fun."
Hill first jumped into the BVU starting backfield as a freshman and he led the Beavers in rushing in each of his final three seasons. He finished his college career this fall with 2,124 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The biology major - he also has a minor in Spanish - knows this will be his final game in uniform, so he intends to make the most of it.
"It's going to be bittersweet, there's no doubt about that," Hill said. "It will be nice to say you're done, but at the same time you want to put a helmet on for another season. But I've had four great years. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
Hill hopes to attend medical school when he graduates from BVU in the spring.
"I've already applied and now I'm just waiting," he said. "We'll see how it goes."
Anderson, who spent time on the offensive line for the Knights before making the shift to tight end/fullback, played in six games this fall. He caught five passes for 30 yards and one touchdown.