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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Parker Hesse and Marcus Weymiller played in the same offensive backfield for so many years they don't know what it would be like not to be side-by-side.

Saturday at Kinnick Stadium, the Waukon natives will get to experience that feeling.

Hesse's Iowa Hawkeye football team is hosting Weymiller's Northern Iowa squad in a 6:30 p.m. kickoff that has the entire northeast Iowa community of Waukon, all 3,900 plus of them buzzing.

Instead of standing side-by-side, like the duo did when it helped Waukon reach the 2013 Class 2A state championship game, Weymiller, the Panthers leading rusher in 2017, will be trying to avoid Hesse, the Hawkeyes' standout defensive end, as much as possible.

That is not usual for the two whose relationship dates back to kindergarten and whom each describes the other as his best friend.

From spring breaking with each other last spring in Cancun, to tubing and kayaking down the Mississippi River every offseason with high school friends to FaceTiming each other on a weekly basis, it could be said Hesse and Weymiller are like brothers.

"We've spent a lot of time together," Hesse smiled when asked about the relationship during Iowa's media day in August. "We met in kindergarten and have been best friends ever since. We've played a lot of football together. We were right next to each other in the same backfield a lot growing up. This will be the first time on opposite sides. That will be different."

As close as the two are, however, Weymiller says the normal dialog between he and Hesse, which is usually fast and loose with no topic safe or off limits, has been more subdued in recent weeks.

"I congratulated him Sunday on playing a good game against Iowa State," Weymiller said. "Honestly, we FaceTime almost every week. This season, however, it has been a little different. We've never played each other so the conversations ... it has been a little more general, no details."


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