On his way to the top line of the record book, Corey Clement would like to make one last stop in a high school end zone.

Ideally, that would be Dec. 1 at Rowan University in the South Jersey Group 1 title game.

Even more ideally, one player would be standing between Clement, Glassboro's sensational running back, and the final touchdown of his illustrious career - as well as the crowning moment of another sectional championship for the Bulldogs.

That would be Clement's neighbor, good-natured nemesis, and best friend: Woodbury defensive back Anthony Averett.

"That's our dream," Averett said of finishing his career on the opposite side of the field from Clement. "That's how we both want it to end. I'm not saying what would happen, but we both would love if it came down to that."

These guys are the closest of friends and the fiercest of foes. They live around the corner from each other in Glassboro, except they rarely went around the corner when they were youngsters since they wore out a dirt path through the woods between their houses.

They compete in everything from video games - Averett rules in NBA 2K, while Clement is the man in Call of Duty - to contests to see who can eat the most of the fried chicken and macaroni and cheese that Averett's mother, Carmen Davis, prepares for the two of them.

"We even compete in girls," Clement said. "But he always beats me."

This being their last scholastic football season before Clement heads off to the University of Pittsburgh and Averett departs for the University of Alabama, their competition could narrow to one game in December, with a South Jersey championship on the line.

Or even one play.

One final play.

"That would be great," Clement said. "I'm not sure what would happen. I know it would be fun."

During this season, Averett will catch Clement's games on Friday nights when he can, and Clement will return the favor on Saturday afternoons. They will follow each other's progress online, in the newspapers and through text messages - rushing yards, touchdowns, or interceptions laid down like a challenge for the other to beat.

"Corey is such an explosive running back," Averett said of the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Clement. "People don't realize how strong he is. You think you have him, and he's gone."

Clement set the South Jersey single-season record for rushing yards last season with 2,510. He also scored 36 touchdowns. With 3,922 career yards, Clement is within distance of the all-time mark of 5,380 set by Ocean City's Kevin Sinclair in 1996.

Clement isn't slow, but he's not track-star fast, either (unlike his best friend). Clement's running style is reminiscent of former Rutgers and current Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice or former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith. Clement is a running back who excels because of balance, patience, and vision.

"He has such great field awareness," Glassboro coach Mark Maccarone said. "He can make you miss, and he can run over you."

Asked which method Clement prefers, Maccarone said, "I've seen him do both on the same play many, many times."

Said Penns Grove coach Kemp Carr of Clement: "He's so fluid. He doesn't run away from you, but he'll lower his shoulder and he cuts on a dime."

The 6-1, 180-pound Averett has remarkable athletic ability. A track star, he has long-jumped 25 feet, 21/2 inches - only Olympic legend Carl Lewis has jumped farther as a New Jersey high school athlete - and run the 100 meters in 10.7 seconds. His track coach, Dan Jones, thinks Averett could be a Southeastern Conference track star if he wasn't determined to be a Southeastern Conference football star.

Averett ran for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns and passed for 653 yards and eight touchdowns as a quarterback last season for Woodbury. He also made 50 tackles and registered five interceptions as a defensive back.

"One of the best athletes we've played against," Paulsboro coach Glenn Howard said. "He's so explosive, so fast, so tough to contain. He brought [a kickoff] back against us as a freshman. You could tell right then he was special."

Averett was recruited by defending national champion Alabama as a cornerback because he fits the Crimson Tide mold: He's fast and rangy, with the strength to play press coverage, the hip flexibility to stick with receivers in tight spaces, and the speed to run deep.

"He's got such great speed, but it's really his mind that makes him great," Clement said. "Lots of guys have athletic ability. He's got the mind-set to be great."

Two of the state best's football players have been best friends since fourth grade, when Averett moved to Glassboro from Washington Township. But they knew each other before that.

"We must have been in second or third grade," Averett said, recalling their first meeting. "Our teams played against each other, and I broke away for a touchdown. But he was the only guy who could keep up with me. He never gave up. He grabbed me, but I got away."

Clement said he remembers the play like it was yesterday.

"See, I was really fast back then," Clement said with a laugh. "I was able to catch Anthony, and I got a grasp on him. But he broke off. Nobody else could catch him."

Clement said it was about a year later when Averett walked into Bowe elementary school in Glassboro.

"I was like, 'Hey, I know that kid,' " Clement said. "It was like we were destined to be best friends."

They played basketball and ran track together as youngsters but never played on the same football team. Averett stayed in Washington Township's youth program, where he had started his career, while Clement played for Glassboro.

They've been inseparable since fourth grade, riding their bikes around the neighborhood and graduating to motorized dirt bikes. One was always sleeping over the other's house.

"Anthony doesn't like to sleep," Clement said. "He'll stay up to 5, 6 in the morning, talking. Then he finally falls asleep and he doesn't wake up until 1 or 2 in the afternoon."

When they play Madden NFL, Averett is the Falcons and Clement is the Cowboys or the Texans. When they NBA 2K, Clement is the Knicks and Averett is the Thunder.

"The cheating OKC," Clement said. "I can't beat him. But he can't beat me in Call of Duty [a war game]."

Averett was in the Glassboro school system from fourth to seventh grade. He transferred to Woodbury Junior High as an eighth grader because Davis is a teacher in the Woodbury system.

Maccarone, whose team has won two South Jersey Group 1 titles in a row and four of the last five (Woodbury won the other in Averett's freshman season) closes his eyes and shakes his head when he imagines Clement and Averett playing together for the Bulldogs.

"Can you imagine that backfield?" Maccarone said.

"That wouldn't be fair," Clement said.

Since their teams are in different conferences, the players can meet only in the South Jersey Group 1 tournament. They both would like for that to happen in the South Jersey Group 1 championship game.

And they both think it would be something special if the game was close late in the fourth quarter, and Clement broke in the clear, and Averett was Woodbury's last line of defense - all those video-game battles and all those childhood bike races boiled down to the defining moment of their high school careers.

"I'd try to outrun him, but I know I wouldn't get too far," Clement said. "If I did get past him, it would be a good thing, but I wouldn't show off or anything. I would be like, 'I finally got you.' "

Contact Phil Anastasia
at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports