Video: UCLA commit breaks single-season TD record
Tulare Union's Kazmeir Allen smashes mark with a 65-yard first-half touchdown run.
TULARE, Calif. —
New UCLA football coach Chip Kelly made the 180-mile North to Tulare this week and spent three hours on the Tulare Union
He and 22-year Tulare Union coach Darren Bennett talked a lot of football.
"But he didn't come all the way up here to talk to an old high school coach like me," Bennett said. "He definitely doesn't want to let Kazmeir get away."
That's easier said than done.
On Friday night, Kazmeir Allen
became the greatest single-season touchdown maker with his second TD of the night — giving him 72 on the season — during a CIF State 2-AA Regional final against Serra (San Mateo).
Before a big home crowd on a brisk night at Bob Mathias Stadium, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior and UCLA commit ran away from the Serra defense, finishing with 27 carries for 347 yards and two long touchdowns.
But he wasn't celebrating afterward.Or even after his record-setting TD. Tulare Union simply couldn't slow down Serra, which piled up 635 yards in a wild 76-43 victory.
Allen broke the record like many of his previous 71 scores with a 79-yard sprint around the right side with 3:44 left in the second quarter. He was barely touched. Allen, who scored earlier on a 91-yard burst up the gut to tie the record, barely reacted after the touchdown. He flipped the ball the official. A teammate patted him on the back. Tulare Union trailed 35-16 at the time.
Even though Tulare Union piled up 564 yards — right at its season average — the Tribe finished 13-1. Serra coach Patrick Walsh was flabbergasted by Allen's play.
"He may be the best high school player I've ever seen," Walsh said. "I have a ton of respect for him and their team."
Allen told the Fresno Bee: "It (the loss) ending us playing (together). But hey, we accomplished what we anted to accomplish, which was winning Valley. It was a great year. We all know that."
Bennett knew that Thursday, the night before the game. He was thankful the home fans had to a chance to cheer on the home school, one with 127 years of rich tradition, at the state level. And they got to see some history to go with it.
"I'm glad he'll be able to (get the record) at home in front of all the people who have supported him," he said. "We've had some great athletes run through this campus over 125-130 years. Kazmeir will no doubt go down as one of the greatest."
The late Mathias was a 1948 Tulare Union graduate and a global athletic figure. He earned two Olympic gold medals in the decathlon, the first just months after graduating from high school.
Mathias would have been proud knowing another athlete from the Tulare red and gold had stamped himself in the NFHS record book. A track star himself, Allen sprinted past T.A. McLendon, of Albermarie (N.C.), who scored 71 touchdowns in 2001. McLendon scored 68 of his touchdowns rushing.
Allen came into Friday's game with 60 rushing touchdowns among his 228 carries for 2,979 yards (13.1 average). He showed all season that he's a great receiving threat too, with 29 catches for 833 yards (28.7 average) and nine more scores. He also had a kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
You know, Kelly has to like that.
"He's lightning in a bottle," Walsh said earlier in the week. "He's so explosive. He's the fastest kid we'll face all year and he's not easy to bring down."
Walsh, in his 16th season at Serra and a former school-record running back at De La Salle (Concord), was asked if Allen reminded him of anyone he's ever seen. He could come up with just one name: "The Black Mamba," he said. "The kid from Crenshaw."
De'Anthony Thomas was considered one of the fastest, most explosive players to ever come out of the Los Angeles City Section. He also played for Kelly two seasons at Oregon.
Kelly clearly likes speed (what coach doesn't?). Kelly clearly likes Allen (who wouldn't?). He clearly would prefer if Allen signs during the early period starting Dec. 20. That's why he was on the Tulare Union campus this week.
Allen's stock has risen greatly since putting on almost 20 pounds of muscle from last season.
He's still ranked only the 379th senior in the country by 247Sports, but with his combination of top-end speed — in his first year of track he finished sixth in the state 100-meters last June (10.48 seconds) — with receiving skills and added strength, all makes him him an attractive catch.
"Here's another strength," Bennett said. "He doesn't fumble."
Just once this season, his coach said. No wonder he's up to 14 offers, including USC, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Cal and Boise State. Allen committed to the Bruins just days after Kelly was named their coach.
"Sure, I think that had a lot to do with it," Bennett said.
And Allen certainly had much to do with the Tribe's prolific offense, that averaged 56 points and 552 yards heading into Friday. The Tribe's balance was remarkable, averaging 273 on the ground and 279 through the air.
"They have so many one- and two-play drives, it's hard to get an idea of what they really do," Walsh said before the game. "Number 10 (Allen) sure makes a bunch of them."
He made a bunch on Friday, but it wasn't enough. He should make a bunch more at UCLA. And perhaps, beyond.