Hattiesburg's Allen scores five times in crosstown rivalry winBy CAMAL PETRO,
HATTIESBURG – Senior Drexlan Allen is out to prove a lot of things when he’s toting the ball for the Hattiesburg Tigers. Not only is he trying to help his team get back to the 5A State Championship, he’s trying to prove to college coaches that he deserves a Division I shot.
“I’ve said it time and time again,” Hattiesburg coach Tony Vance said Friday, “I think he’s probably one of the most underrated players in the state of Mississippi. Some of our in-state schools, I think you need to open your eyes. You’re going to miss out on a good football player.”
In a dominant 51-19 win over crosstown rival Oak Grove, Allen finished the night with 150 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, and he added 45 receiving yards and another score on two receptions.
“I promise you, I’m trying to get noticed,” he said. “If I can’t get noticed, then I’m blessed with what I have right now.”
Allen’s first two touches of the game were for touchdowns – 8-yard and 32-yard scores – and he added another one from 3 yards then his last one came from 30. His scoring reception was from 28 yards, too. Allen’s quarterback, Jarod “Snoop” Conner, was second on the team with 102 rushing yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, while adding 247 passing yards and a touchdown pass on 19-of-28 passing.
With Oak Grove stacking the box early to try and limit Allen and Conner running the ball, the Tigers started their first drive of the game with seven straight passes to get into the red zone. The first play was a 48-yard bomb from Conner to senior Darius Ruffin, then four more completions moved the ball to the 8-yard line.
Of course, Allen capped off the drive with his 8-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
“We were going to try and soften them up a little bit,” Vance said with a wink. “Try and complete some simple passes early and take some shots early. The first play of the game we took a great shot to Darius who made a great catch. We were trying to get the secondary on its heels a little bit.
“After that, we tried to do what we love to do, which is run the football and run the clock.”
For the next three possessions, Hattiesburg still threw the ball more than it ran it. That set up for a dominant rushing attack in the second half where the Tigers ran the ball 22 of their 33 plays, totaling 174 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Allen’s second touchdown came at the end of the first quarter, pushing the Tigers’ lead to 16-0, then Conner leaped over the linemen from the 1 on their next drive to take a 23-0 advantage.
Allen’s touchdown reception extended the lead to 30-7, and his 3-yard score gave his team a 44-13 lead. The fifth and final score from Allen put the nail in the coffin, 51-13.
Even though he’s rushed for more yards in other games, Allen was playing on another level Friday night. He was asked if this was his best game he’s ever played, and he didn’t think it was.
“I can do way better than this, I promise you,” he said. “This was just one of those nights that it switched.”
The senior has now rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the first four games of the season, and he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down now. Allen has 486 yards on the ground and nine rushing touchdowns on 60 carries to finish off the non-region play.
“Just going into the game with the mindset of dominating,” Allen said. “That’s how I came into this game.”
Hattiesburg and Oak Grove will be off next week before starting region play Friday, Sept. 21. Hattiesburg will travel to Gautier and Oak Grove will host George County when the two return to the gridiron.