Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Single-Wing QB/RB/WR Offensive Player of The Year

All-County Football
Players of year stand out in sea of talent
Apopka's Jeremy Gallon and Boone's Jamarcus Allen can be hard to handle.
Zach McCann

Sentinel Staff Writer

January 13, 2008

When Central Florida's two best football teams, Boone and Apopka, met on Dec. 7 in a state semifinal, both teams were trying to negate the other team's biggest strength.

Boone, which won 21-18, aimed to shut down Jeremy Gallon, Apopka's versatile quarterback/running back/wide receiver/defensive back.

"We knew for us to beat them, we couldn't let him run," Boone Coach Phil Ziglar said. "Our whole plan was to keep him bottled up as much as possible and not give him a lane to run in. If you let him out on the corner, he's going to really hurt you."

Apopka, meanwhile, planned to run plays away from Jamarcus Allen, Boone's monstrous and athletic defensive tackle.

"We noticed him on film without a doubt," said Rick Darlington, Apopka's coach. "He'd make plays on the sweep, plays up the middle and plays on the sack. He made plays all over the field and was a force we'd have to reckon with."

Both players forced opposing teams to adapt to them. And even when opponents based their game plans around stopping Gallon and Allen, they couldn't.

That's why the two have been chosen the Sentinel's offensive and defensive football players of the year for Orange County.

Gallon, a junior, ran for more than 1,600 yards and passed for more than 1,100 this year. He threw eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, completing 55 percent of his passes.

Pretty good for a player who never took a snap at quarterback before this year.

"We didn't know what he was going to be able to do," Darlington said. "That's why we installed the single-wing offense, where you snap directly to someone and let them run.

"As the year went on, we realized what he could do throwing the ball and started to run the spread offense. He was very efficient, very smart and a big-play player."

And he did so much more than play quarterback. He ran the ball, caught passes and played well in the secondary.

In Apopka's second-round playoff victory against Edgewater, Gallon rushed for 257 yards, caught a touchdown pass and covered Edgewater's best receiver the whole game.

"Jeremy Gallon may be the best player that's every played at Apopka," Darlington said of the school that was home to NFL players Warren Sapp and Brandon Meriweather.

Allen, a senior, anchored Central Florida's top scoring defense (allowing 7.2 points per game in the regular season), pairing with fellow lineman Johnell Thomas to blow up run plays and harass the quarterback.

Allen finished with eight sacks, 14 hurries and 135 tackles for the state runner-up Braves.

"He was always around the ball," Ziglar said of Allen, who also was chosen as the Sentinel's Central Florida defensive player of the year. "If he didn't make the tackle, he was always right next to the ball no matter where it was at."

Allen is considering offers from Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky, Syracuse and Tennessee.

Orlando Sentinel