Given their long friendship, it's fitting that UTSA cornerback Crosby Adams and running back Brandon Armstrong follow each other on the Roadrunners' numerical roster.
Both sophomores, Adams (4) and Armstrong (5) have played together since they were in middle school and were standouts at Roosevelt High School.
When Armstrong scored his first collegiate touchdown in the Roadrunners' 31-24 victory over McNeese State last week, the first person to congratulate him on the sideline was Adams.
"When he did that, I was probably the happiest guy on the team," Adams said, referring to the screen pass Armstrong turned into a 31-yard TD that gave UTSA a 28-10 lead three plays into the fourth quarter. "Seeing Brandon grow from elementary to middle school to high school, you get used to him making those kind of plays. But I hadn't see it in a while.
"As soon as he made the catch, I was like, 'He's got to take this all the way.' My eyes got a little watery because I was so happy for him. I went over there and gave him a hug. I don't think he realized it was me."
When Adams made an interception at the UTSA 19 on McNeese's next possession to set up the Roadrunners' last score, Armstrong was just as quick to congratulate his buddy.
"I think I jumped higher than anybody on the sideline," Adams said. "When he did what he did, I was so happy for him. I went and hugged him just like he had hugged me. We were so happy for each other.
"We both like to acknowledge each other when we made good plays. We do it with other guys on the team, but it's special for us because we've played together for so long."
UTSA can clinch winning season Saturday
The Roosevelt connection will be back in action when UTSA, 6-4 overall and 1-3 in the Western Athletic Conference, plays Idaho (1-9, 1-3) in a WAC game at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.
A UTSA victory would clinch a winning season for the Roadrunners, who finished 4-6 in their inaugural campaign last year. UTSA ends its season against Texas State at 1 p.m. next Saturday at the Alamodome.
Adams and Armstrong signed with the Roadrunners' fledgling football program in 2010, and lettered as redshirt freshmen last season.
Armstrong missed two games earlier this season with a broken bone in his left foot, but is back at full speed and contributing with his elusiveness.
"He's a tough guy, probably one of the toughest guys on the team," Adams said. "He's one of the smallest, but at the same time, he probably has the biggest heart. He's feisty."
Although Armstrong has rushed for only 97 yards in the eight games he's played, UTSA coach Larry Coker always has said Armstrong has the potential to be one of the team's best playmakers.
Armstrong, who is 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds, also has caught nine passes for 74 yards and is averaging 16.4 yards per kick return.
"He's one of these runners that's fun to watch," Coker said. "It was good to see him make the big play the other day. I told him, 'Hey, if you had gotten caught before the pylon, you'd have had my wrath. You've got to score on that one.'
"He's done well. He was hurt but he's back now and he's one we need. Guys like that bring energy to practice and bring energy to your team. You need those type of guys."
Adams, Armstrong have worked to be ready
If there's one thing Armstrong has learned as a backup, it's to be ready to step on the field at a moment's notice. Coker and offensive coordinator Kevin Brown never have hesitated to get Armstrong the ball.
"One thing about him (Coker) and Coach Brown, they tell me every week that they're going to have some plays for me where I can make plays and score touchdowns," Armstrong said. "They say they're always going to have faith in me, and trust me when I get the ball in my hands. I respect that."
Fast and quick, Armstrong left defenders in his wake when he took a screen pass from Eric Soza and weaved his way to the end zone.
"He told me I was going to be in the open field and it was up to me to get it to the end zone," Armstrong said. "I caught the ball in the open field and I just tried to turn it on and get to the end zone."
Adams, 5-9 and 180 pounds, has started in four of the 10 games he's played in this season. He has two interceptions and 15 tackles.
Adams was thrust into the lineup during the game against McNeese after starter Erik Brown injured a calf.
"I was kind of shocked when they called my name to go in," Adams said. "I went in and just tried to play and help out the team as best I could."
Coker: Adams' interception in McNeese game 'huge'
Adams demonstrated his athletic ability and instincts on the interception against McNeese, timing his jump on the ball perfectly as he came from behind the receiver and outleaped him.
"He stepped up and made a huge interception," Coker said. "That was one of the big differences in the game. I like watching him practice and play because he always brings energy and gets his teammates involved and ready."
Armstrong has grown accustomed to seeing Adams make big plays in the secondary.
"I know what he can do," Armstrong said. "I know his athletic ability. He can go up and get a ball against anybody, anytime, because I think he's one of best athletes on the team with his speed and his corner abilities."
Adams got his big interception while covering a wide receiver who is 6-2.
"When the ball was in the air, my mindset was I've got to attack it, I've got to attack it," Adams said. "I just timed it and went up and attacked it and came down with it."
Adams and Armstrong didn't attend the same elementary school, but they played Pop Warner football against each other.
"I think we knew a lot about each other because people always talked about us being the fastest kids," Armstrong said.
Adams and Armstrong became fast friends when they played in the same backfield at White Middle School.
"We tore it up together in middle school," Armstrong said, smiling.
The bond grew at Roosevelt and has tightened at UTSA.
"Time is flying by fast," Armstrong said. "We're all growing up. I believe we're going to have some good memories when we leave here if we keep on trying to make plays for our team and helping each other win."
As Armstrong and Adams would attest, such are the ties that bind.