Reloaded Allen to be tested by Plano defense

September, 23, 2010
9/23/10
3:07
PM CT
Allen doesn’t rebuild. It reloads.

Losing all but two starters? No problem for Allen, which is off to a 3-0 start thanks to nail-biting wins over Class 5A power Cedar Hill and 4A finalist Longview.

The only question is how well Allen has reloaded for 2010. Its district-opening tilt against Plano on Friday at Eagles Stadium will go a long way toward answering that.

[+] EnlargeConnor Michelsen
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comA Plano team stacked with experience takes on an up-and-comiing Allen squad.
“We have a pretty good rivalry against them,” Allen coach Tom Westerberg said of Plano. “You know what you’re going to get. They’re going to play very solid defense.”

Westerberg credits his program’s ability to reload to simple numbers – the program has outstanding participation with 200 players on two junior varsity teams and about 215 players combined on three freshman teams.

“With the numbers that we have, we’re going to be able to find 22 kids that can play,” Westerberg said.

Allen High School’s extracurricular actives all have high participation. The school’s band is one of the largest in the state with more than 600 members. It can be an intimidating presence for the opposition at football games.

“They’ve got a one-school town,” Plano coach Jaydon McCullough said. “Their band -- man, I’m glad we’re not playing their band. Their band is awesome. You have to be concerned about hearing the snap count.”

The new-look Eagles haven’t skipped a beat offensively. New QB Alec Morris thrown for 663 yards and five touchdowns in three games. He’s yet to throw an interception and he’s completing close to 70 percent of his passes.

Junior RB Jonathan Williams might be a star-in-waiting. He’s averaging well over 8 yards per carry with 401 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

Allen’s offense will likely get all it can handle against a Plano defense that’s not only talented, but seasoned. It held Mansfield Legacy to less than 200 total yards and shut down Irving MacArthur’s talented running backs.

In a deep and talented District 8-5A, every game will have playoff implications. But with Allen and Plano widely considered the favorites in the district, the opening tilt could prove the difference come November.

“If I was looking around at high school games to go see and I wasn’t a football coach, this would be the one I’d probably go watch,” McCullough said.

KEY MATCHUPS

Plano’s experience vs. Allen’s inexperience
Allen closed the gap with clutch wins over Cedar Hill and Longview, but nothing compares to staring down Euless Trinity in the playoffs like Plano did.

Allen WR Jonathan Lee vs. Plano CB Blair Burns
Burns has the potential to clip one of Allen’s many wings in a battle between two Division I prospects.

Plano’s defensive front vs. Allen RB Jonathan Williams
Allen must establish the run, but Plano is second in the area in run defense, giving up just 77.7 rushing yards per game.

Jeff Andrews

ESPNDallas.com
Jeff Andrews covers north Metroplex high schools for ESPNDallas.com. He covered high school sports for four years at the Denton Record-Chronicle. Andrews is a graduate of UNT.

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