Friday, October 28, 2011
Allen rallies past Hebron in another comeback
By Jeff Andrews
CARROLLTON, Texas -- Ho hum, another comeback win for Allen.
The script sounds familiar: Hebron's fast start gave it a chance to pull off an improbable upset over Allen for the second straight year.
Allen wasn't having any of that.
After falling behind by two touchdowns in the third quarter, Allen scored 21 unanswered points capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Williams in the final two minutes to give Allen a 28-21 win Friday at Hawk Stadium.
The win gives Allen (9-0, 6-0) its sixth straight District 8-5A title and the top seed in Division I in the district.
"It's great that we can win them [close games], but I'd rather not be in them, I can tell you that," Allen head coach Tom Westerberg said. "I like them when we're separated a little bit. At this point we're taking them the way we can get them."
Trailing 21-7 in the third quarter, Allen's offense recovered from a slow start by going on a long drive that quarterback Alec Morris ended with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Following a Hebron (6-3, 4-2) fumble, Morris completed passes of 7 and 38 yards to receiver Cortland Tolbert, who had a breakout game with 83 yards, to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Williams to tie the score early in the fourth quarter.
Allen got the ball again at the 50-yard line with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game, and Morris needed only two minutes to get his team in the end zone. Williams scored on a 5-yard plunge.
"I think they relax in those situations a little bit more than they do early on," Westerberg said. "I don't know if it's because we've been in them so many weeks in a row. I don't know what it is. Once we get into a rhythm we get going pretty good."
Slow starts are becoming a habit for Allen's offense. Morris, who had two interceptions coming into the game, threw three against Hebron and finished with only 214 yards and no touchdown passes.
Part of that was great defense by Hebron. Cornerback Kiante' Griffin, who came down with two of Morris' interceptions, helped shut down Allen receiver Andrew Rodriguez with a double team. Rodriguez finished with just two receptions for 21 yards.
But double-teaming Rodriguez opened up other players. Tolbert, who'd made the most of few opportunities prior to Friday, showed that he can play in big situations. Williams ran for 82 yards and two touchdowns despite getting just one carry in the first half.
"Every game it seems like we come out slow but once we hit that switch, it's a different story," Williams said. "I'm not really sure what it is. I guess we have to have our backs against the wall."
Hebron built its lead with its defense. Aside from giving up a 64-yard touchdown run by Jeff Harris, the Hawks completely shut down Allen in the first half.
Hebron broke a 7-7 tie in the third with two quick touchdowns. Dezmond Wortham scored the second of his two touchdowns with a 46-yard burst up the middle en route to rushing for 99 yards on the day.
Allen looked like it would quickly even the score with a drive that reached deep into Hebron territory, but Hebron defensive back Jamal Adams stepped in front of a Morris pass and took it 92 yards for a touchdown, giving the Hawks a 21-7 lead.
"We don't feel any pressure [when we get down]," Williams said. "We know once we start clicking everything will be alright. It really makes us play harder."
After the game, Westerberg declined to address rumors of Allen suspending players for the season, including linebacker Thaddeus LaGrone, a Baylor commit.
LaGrone did not play against Hebron on Friday, but Westerberg would not comment on whether it was injury related or related to a suspension.