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Jose GarciaMultimedia Journalist/Historian firstname.lastname@example.org
Desert Ridge's Allen's football IQ continues to growSep 14, 2012
Desert Ridge offensive lineman Nick Allen wasn’t a physical specimen when he first joined the football program.
As a freshman, Allen was out of shape and had never played football. But all of that changed once his passion for the game, which runs in his family, kicked in.
As a senior, Allen now possesses a lot of the athletic characteristics that are required to excel on the offensive and defensive lines.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done to improve,” Allen said.
Other than his dad’s football background as a former University of Arizona and one-year NFL player, Allen and football were strangers.
Video games were the hobby of the introspective Allen before football came along.
“I never forced my kids to play football,” said Gallen, Allen’s father. “I wanted him to pick what he wanted to do. And he didn’t gravitate toward football very much. But one day it all changed. He told me, ‘I think I want to play football.’ I said, ‘OK. Alright.’ It was just like that.”
Because he was tall and weighed about 295 as a freshman, Allen was immediately placed on the offensive line.
But it wasn’t until after his freshman year that Allen finally got serious about football. After watching the varsity team training in the offseason one day, Allen told himself he wanted to be to be a part of what he was watching.
“It was game on then,” Gallen said.
Allen immediately went to work shedding his “baby” fat.
In his sophomore season, and with only one year of football experience, Allen wound up becoming a starter on varsity and participated in the 2010 state championship game against Hamilton at University of Phoenix Stadium.
The 6-foot-6 senior now is down to 235 pounds and still plays on the left side of the offensive line. But it appears that Allen’s future is on defense.
He started as a defensive end, where Desert Ridge can also take advantage of Allen’s speed, strength and agility, this season for the first time. But he isn’t giving up his left tackle spot, either.
Allen has a handful of college offers on the table. But more might arrive as the still raw and coachable Allen continues to progress.
“I was surprised when the first college contacted me,” Allen said. “It was weird. I never thought I would be in that position when I was a sophomore.”
Desert Ridge’s King also impressing
Senior center Cody King is the other force on Desert Ridge’s offensive line.
The senior hasn’t received any college offers yet, but that will change once schools view game film from this season, said Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock. The military academies might show interest also because of King’s good grades.
King suffered an ankle injury in the summer during a biking accident, but he is OK. The accident didn’t keep King from bench pressing 455 and squatting 660 pounds.
“He’s the best center in the state,” Hathcock said.
Because of an injury to a lineman, King’s brother, Austin, a junior, might join him on the offensive line during Friday’s game against Hamilton.