It’s as reliable as clockwork for the Allen football program. Every year for the last 13 seasons, the month of November has marked a district championship, and this year was no different. In yet another blemish-free campaign thus far, Allen clinched the District 9-6A title in the minimum number of games by making quick work of a seven-win Prosper team, 35-7.
If fans seem to be having déjà vu, it is probably due to the fact that Allen’s dominance over its district dates back to 2005 and has included a string of 61 consecutive league wins. Moreover, the win on Friday night marks the program’s 74th straight regular-season victory.
“We think about (winning the district championship) a lot. We have a white board that has how many district championships we’ve won in a row, and it’s a big thing. We don’t want to be the team that breaks that streak,” said Raylen Sharpe, Allen senior quarterback.
Prosper, which was the final obstacle for the Eagles in the standings, succumbed to Allen’s talent and speed rather quickly, as the first time Allen touched the ball set the tone for the entire night. Sharpe, an SMU commit, converted on three separate third downs with a combination of his arm and legs, and it was off to the races. A three-minute, 46-second drive was capped off on a third-down dart from Sharpe to Justin Hall from 20 yards out, with the senior walking into the painted turf.
After moving the ball well on the first drive, everything else for Prosper was snuffed out offensively for the rest of the half and game. The home team could only muster 89 yards before intermission compared to 256 for the visiting Eagles. Sharpe singlehandedly outgained Prosper by almost 100 yards in the first half, going for 187 yards by himself in the first 24 minutes. Leading his team in both passing and rushing, the bounce-back game for the three-star recruit was in full effect. He would compile 321 yards passing and three touchdowns by night’s end.
By the time Prosper could catch its breath at the intermission, it was already 21-0, and things only seemed to get worse. A fumble by the green and white’s quarterback, Jackson Berry, in which the gunslinger simply lost grip of the ball gifted an Eagle offense that already needed no help a possession.
“We are playing one of the top teams in the state of Texas. If you don’t execute and don’t stay on the field on third down on offense and can’t get them off the field on third down on defense, these are the things that are going to happen,” said Brandon Schmidt, Prosper head coach. “I thought our defense did a good job for most of the game. We just couldn’t get them off the field on third down.”
A concern coming into the game was how Allen would react to its top two running backs on the depth chart, Celdon Manning and Jordan Johnson, being out due to injuries. The answer to how Allen would compensate for the absences came in the form of Sharpe.
Along with his passing duties, the quarterback finished with 67 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in three quarters of work. A heavier dose of wide receiver Blaine Green also relieved some of the stress on the ground game, with the junior adding 167 yards receiving and a touchdown.
“First, it starts with the offensive line. If our offensive line plays well, we have a chance to do special things,” said Terry Gambill, Allen head coach. “You have to protect the football, and then it goes back to just doing your job.”
If there were any hopes of a comeback coming out of the locker room for Prosper, Taijon Jackson had his say in that. The senior made a highlight-reel play, snatching the ball over two Prosper defenders with his left hand and sprinting ahead for a 67-yard touchdown.
Sharpe placed the throw on Jackson’s opposite shoulder into double coverage, but that did not seem to matter. Jackson spun awkwardly in midair, cradled the ball over two white helmets and proceeded to find only open turf in front of him. The play sent the Prosper faithful to the exits with 10:02 to play in the third quarter with the score showing 28-0.
Prosper would find 287 yards of total offense in the game but had its lone touchdown late in the final frame. Tyler Bailey had the best night for the home team, amassing 116 all-purpose yards.
Prosper will turn around to play Plano in the final game of the regular season next week. As for Allen, they will go on the road to Plano West to wrap up what could be a tune-up game before the playoffs.