Sports

MJC Notebook: Star receiver Allen happy for his team

Just when you think you’ve seen everything from Marcus Allen, the Modesto Junior College wide receiver does something even more extraordinary.

Allen was just one of many stars in a 57-26 rout of Los Medanos in the Golden Gate Conference opener Friday.

The sophomore expressed more glee talking about his teammates’ highlights than he did his own:

  • The bonus of getting a big lead, Allen said, was so the second team would get more opportunities to play.
  • He was blocking a defender when Quarterback Greg Panelli threw to Carlos Acosta for Modesto’s first score of the game, and lit up recalling how happy he was to turn his head and see Acosta in the end zone for his first TD of the season.
  • A byproduct of Allen’s 80-yard touchdown reception from Panelli was giving the defense more time to rest. The catch came on a second-and-15 from the Mustangs’ 20-yard line with less than two minutes to play in the first half.
  • “We thought if we could do that, the defense wouldn’t have to go back out on the field,” Allen said. “They played so hard. They never gave up.”

    Allen made the Mustangs’ defense look silly, particularly on his 42-yard touchdown catch, the last of four touchdowns. In one seamless sequence, Allen caught the ball, shook out of an immediate tackle as though someone had tossed a rag doll on him, and left his defender behind.

    While Allen makes the most impressive play look routine – finding another gear to break away from a defender on an 80-yard reception or leaping to grab a pass over a defender’s helmet – moves like the one where he deftly evaded coverage are eye-popping reminders of his amazing focus and strength.

    In Modesto’s last game, a 44-13 win over Sacramento City in the final nonconference game on Oct. 4, coach Sam Young said Allen was “on another level.” He agreed that Allen did it again Friday, catching three touchdown passes and running for a fourth – a 13-yarder in which he refused to be brought down.

    “I think offensive coordinator Rusty Stivers is doing a great job of packaging Marcus in different ways,” Young said. “We’re starting to move him around a little bit.”

    SOLID THROUGH & THROUGH – There was no letdown from any of the Pirates players at any point in the game, late or at any time they had built sizable lead. Running back Casey Cotta simply refused to be brought down on a number of his 12 carries totaling 53 yards. He scored on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter.

    Justin Nagel burst through holes up the middle for 71 yards on eight carries. Panelli tossed the ball to Mike Kunlenz a number of times for some nice end-around plays, one that resulted in a 27-yard touchdown which was called back on a holding call.

    Mike Dixon rushed five times for 36 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Panelli said the backs really opened up the passing game and his 260 yards on 10 of 17 passes.

    “It was really good to see production from a lot of players,” Young said. “We were good on the offensive line. Our running game was much better. We ran the ball effectively, the most effectively we run all year.”

    Just about everyone touched the ball – eight rushers including Panelli and six receivers. With the game in control, Young was able to use players off the bench, something he also did in the Sacramento City game, which boosts confidence and ability.

    “We got a chance to get some more guys game experience,” Young said. “As the season goes on, if guys get hurt, someone else can hopefully come up and keep playing at the level they are now.

    WATCH FOR THIS – Opposing teams have probably seen game film of Modesto’s flea flicker, where Panelli throws down the line of scrimmage to Teddy Anderson, who then quickly throws to a receiver down field. On Friday, the Pirates ran a great fake, where a receiver pretended to leap for a short pass, drawing attention away from another receiver further away. Panelli connected with John Gomes on the play, and he ran for what looked like a 36-yard touchdown. It was also called back on a holding call.

    A-OK – Young said defensive back T.K. Brown got the wind knocked out of him attempting to tackle a Los Medanos receiver on the Mustangs’ final possession. Brown stayed on the field while Thomas Hampton broke free for a few more of his 16 yards on a reception from Keith McDaniels. Brown was able to walk off on his own after a few minutes. … Modesto held Los Medanos below its average for points scored. The Mustangs came in averaging 40.2 points per game. Modesto’s 57-point total was its highest of the season. Los Medanos totaled 400 yards to Modesto’s 445. … Panelli said he had no idea he had passed for five touchdowns, his highest of the season, crediting the offensive line with protecting him so he had time to throw. “I really don’t count (TDs),” Panelli said. “The O-line did a great job. I think I maybe got caught once or twice.” … The Pirates play host to Chabot on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.

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