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Sunday, December 29, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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College Football

Boilermakers notebook: Harris and Ware have a history

Special to the Seattle Times

EL PASO, Texas — Purdue junior running back Joey Harris and Washington senior tight end Kevin Ware have enjoyed some reunion time this week, but once Tuesday's Sun Bowl game gets under way, the former high-school teammates will be your typical rivals.

Both played at Klein Oak High School in Houston. They went their separate ways to college, but success has followed both.

Harris, in his first season as a starter, rushed for 1,277 yards during the regular season. Ware has been an important cog in Washington's pass-happy offense. Besides being a solid blocker, he caught 41 passes for 451 yards.

"We were pretty good friends," Harris said. "He lives about five minutes away from where I do. He went off to Washington and I saw him once when he came back. I hadn't seen him since about a year ago, so it's been nice seeing him here."

The Boilermakers and the Huskies went out to dinner the other night and they spent last night at another dinner/show across the border in Juarez, Mexico.

Harris and Ware played two years of varsity together at Klein Oak, where their teams were around the .500 mark.

"He lives probably only a mile and a half from me," Ware said. "Now, he's doing his thing and doing it well. And I've got things to do myself at Washington so we kind of lost touch with each other.

"I haven't had a chance to look at their offense yet (on tape), but I saw their stats and I know he's leading the team in rushing. I know he's doing his job. He's always been a speedster, so nothing surprises me with that guy."

The Houston neighbors almost became teammates at Washington.

Harris' first official recruiting visit was to Purdue, but his second trip was going to be to Washington.

He never made it to Seattle, at least for an official visit.

"I was kind of a little uptight about that," Ware said. "I knew I was probably going to be his host. And then one of the coaches asked me, 'What's up with Joey, he committed to Purdue?' I was like, 'What, he couldn't even come up here and see me? We would have had a good time."

One more day

Purdue Coach Joe Tiller postponed announcing the decision on his starting quarterback. Expected to declare between sophomore Kyle Orton and true freshman Brandon Kirsch by yesterday, Tiller now is waiting until this morning during the Boilermakers' practice at Sun Bowl Stadium.

"We'll probably have a starter for you in the morning," Tiller said after yesterday's workout. "Whoever's going with the ones (first team) tomorrow will be the guy."

It appeared that Orton took more snaps with the No. 1 offense yesterday, but Tiller said not to read too much into that.

"If he did, it was not intentional, but that's quite possible," he said.

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