ORLANDO -- Teammates call Dalvin Cook “Do It Again.”
They call Joseph Yearby “Joystick.”
But when it comes to nicknames, Miami Central’s phenomenal running back tandem chose the same one for each other.
“We call each other, ‘Main Man,’ ” Yearby said.
There hasn’t been a main individual to stop in Central’s backfield the past two seasons.
Yearby and Cook have collectively taken apart opponents on the football field, leading the Rockets to their third consecutive state final appearance, tying the Miami-Dade County record.
And they have taken joy in rooting for each other while doing it.
“If I get a big run, it motivates him to get one,” Yearby said. “We have fun with sharing the ball. Every time he gets the ball, I throw my hands up for six points. When both of us are back there together, I feel like no one can stop us.”
The talented juniors — arguably one of the best backfield duos in county history — have one more obstacle to overcome Saturday when they lead Central against undefeated Gainesville (14-0) in the Class 6A state final at the Citrus Bowl.
Central (11-2) is seeking its second state title in three seasons.
“They are fast and real good,” Gainesville coach James Thomson said. “Cook is an incredible player, and Yearby is so fast. We played against [Yulee High running back] Derrick Henry [the nation’s leader in rushing]. I would put both of those guys right up there with him in terms of talent.”
Yearby earned USA Today Preseason All-America honors before the season and already has committed to Florida State. Cook gave an early commitment to Clemson.
The two have drawn comparisons to some of the county’s historically great running back tandems such as former Southridge stars Troy and Darren Davis.
The siblings ran together for three seasons from 1991 to ’93 and became the first county running backs to post individual 2,000-yard seasons. During that span, they led Southridge to a pair of state titles, highlighted by one of the biggest blowout wins in state finals history in 1993 when Southridge beat Bradenton Manatee 69-36.
Darren Davis’ 2,401 yards in his senior year in 1994 surpassed the county single-season record set the prior season by Troy Davis (2,211 yards) during his senior season. Those records stood until former Coral Gables tailback Frank Gore smashed the record with 2,953 yards in 2000.
Yearby became the first underclassman in Dade history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark with 2,160 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore. Cook ran for 876 yards and nine touchdowns last year in their first season splitting time in the Rockets backfield.
Yearby and Cook mirror each other physically, with Yearby measuring 5-10 and weighing 195 pounds and Cook listed at 5-11, 195 pounds.
This season, their statistics and contributions have become much more alike, too.
Cook has run for a Class 8A-6A county-high 1,373 yards and 19 touchdowns on 111 carries, and Yearby is close behind him with 1,323 yards and 18 touchdowns on 189 attempts.
“It’s been fun for us to be able to do a lot of things on the field,” Cook said. “It’s great to share the ball with a back that can do the same things you can.”
About the only place Cook and Yearby become really competitive against each other is the virtual world.