After it's all said and done, if Aaron Chase and Max Bowden finish their football careers together, they will have been teammates for 17 years.
Over the past few weeks, the two announced that they will be attending the University at Buffalo as preferred walk-ons in the fall. They will be joined by the 2016 Niagara Gazette Player of the Year Tajay Ahmed, who also played at Starpoint before going to prep school in Canada.
"They definitely both had a pretty big part (of my decision)," Bowden said during a phone interview on Thursday. "Tajay, I heard that he was going and it gave me a level of comfort. Aaron, we were texting the day before talking about where we were going to end up. He texted the coach an hour before I did. We were right in sync.
"It’s a level of comfort for two of my former teammates going through the same thing I did."
Bowden said Chase and Ahmed committing to UB influenced his decision slightly. But the big reason for choosing the Bulls was the success the program has had under head coach Lance Leipold, who just signed a five year extension.
"It’s great to have consistency," Bowden said. "I wanted to stay home so it definitely helped that it was close to home."
Bowden did receive offers from Benedictine College and Seton Hill, but ultimately favored UB.
Bowden's teammate and 2018 Gazette Player of the Year, Chase, had a similar decision when choosing UB over his other options. Chase received an offer from Mercyhurst University, but that fell through. Thus, staying home and continuing on his dream of playing Division I football became the next step.
Chase attending UB is also a little poetic as his trainer and one of his biggest supporters, Joe Licata, was a standout at UB before getting a look in the NFL.
"The kid can play football and in my mind, he should be able to play at the Division I level — whether that’s FCS or FBS programs — I think that he’s very capable,” Licata said in a phone interview back in December.
Chase left Starpoint as one of the best quarterbacks to come through Pendleton.
This past season, he broke the record for passing yards (3,053), completions (193), passing touchdowns (36) and completion percentage (66).
Along with his single-season records, Chase holds the career records for passing yards (4,899), completed passes (320) and passing touchdowns (66).
He and Bowden connected 24 times last season for 645 yards and nine touchdowns. Bowden was the third-leading receiver for Starpoint last season.
"It’s definitely exciting and it’s more exciting to be able to play with Max and Tajay. ... I’m looking to compete at the highest level," Chase said.
Follow sports reporter Wynston Wilcox on Twitter @wynstonw_ for updates on all your local teams.