There was the window game. And the rose bush game.

But really, it all began with demolition Big Wheels for Trevor Toof and Jakob Ahlschwede.

"We'd come down his driveway and we'd try to hit each other," Ahlschwede said. "That was super fun."

"Demolition Big Wheels," Toof explained.

So who won those battle royales?

"Him," quipped Ahlschwede, throwing a thumb at the now 5-foot-11, 225-pound Toof and causing an eruption of laughter.

You see, Toof and Ahlschwede grew up across the street from each other in south Lincoln. They've been friends since age 3 and have played everything together as next-door neighbors, from basketball to midget football. But especially football.

On the street, in backyards, down the street at neighbor's houses. And there were some epic battles.

"One of them was at our neighbor Pam's house," Ahlschwede recalled as the two sat side by side on in the Ahlschwede living room Wednesday. "It got a little violent and we were on kickoff team."

Toof lined up the kick and ...

"And I broke the window," admitted Toof, almost sheepishly all these years later. 

Then there was the time they were in the Toof's front yard.

"And we pushed my brother into the rose bushes," Toof said. "That was pretty awesome."

"He went flying, got a little bloody," Ahlschwede added.

They caught a little heat for the flying sibling, but as for Pam?

"We could never ever play there again," Ahlschwede said. 

Toof: "Yeah, we got banned."

Yardwork or any punishment  to make amends?

"We just ran and never came back," said Toof with a laugh.

The former neighborhood teammates will see a little different experience on Friday at Seacrest Field. Toof, you see, is a starting outside linebacker at Lincoln High. Ahlschwede is the starting quarterback at Lincoln Southwest. And the undefeated and No. 6 Links (7-0) and Silver Hawks (5-2) meet.

Toof went to Southwest his first two years before transferring to Lincoln High. They played against each other last year when both were on their respective junior varsity squads, but Friday's game for the two seniors has a little more oomph.

"There's a lot on the line," Toof said. 'It's the city championship game."

"Probably a couple places in the state playoffs, too," said Ahlschwede, turning to Toof.

And to be truthful, both thought they would end up on the same sideline and not lining up across from each other. There hasn't been any trash talk this week and the two have kept tabs on how each other's team has been doing and sending congrats after big games.

As for Friday, Ahlschwede is looking forward to "seeing (Toof) on the other side." For Toof, it's "just lining up and seeing how we do."

Just like demolition Big Wheels back in the day.

Reach the writer at or 402-473-2646. On Twitter @ClintRobus.


Clint Robus is the digital and assistant sports editor at the Journal Star.

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