If there is a documentary done on how Tulare Union (Tulare, Calif.) star Kazmeir Allen emerged as one of the top running back recruits in the state for the Class of 2018, an apropos title would be: The Man with the Golden Spikes.
Tagline: He never misses his target, and his target is the opponent’s end zone.
Allen put on one of the most fan-pleasing rushing performances in Tulare County high school football history in Tulare Union’s 69-47 win over the Dinuba Emperors Friday night at Bob Mathias Stadium.
In an all-Division II affair that was filled with intrigue and outstanding play from both sides, it was Allen’s outing that will go down in history — 335 yards rushing and a school-record seven touchdowns on 30 carries.
“This (school record) means everything to me. It’s something I’ve been trying to break this season,” Allen said.
When Allen’s extraordinary numbers were announced over the public address system, Allen made a point to thank every member of the Tribe’s starting offensive unit.
“This was a total team effort. It wasn’t just about one guy. It takes everybody,” Allen said.
In a span of fewer than two years, Allen has gone from relative unknown to someone who is regarded as one of the nation’s top 25 all-purpose running back recruits for the Class of 2018 by Scout.com.
Since dropping his verbal commitment to Boise State in August, Allen has experienced an avalanche of interest from some of the biggest programs in college football — Texas, Wisconsin, UCLA (he’s set for an unofficial visit to the Bruins this weekend).
The recruiting frenzy hasn’t hampered his game a bit. In five games for Tulare Union, Allen has rushed for 994 yards and 20 touchdowns on 81 carries.
“It’s not hard to keep my focus. I don’t worry about (recruiting). I just do what I can to help my team,” Allen said.
It also probably helps that Allen has an offensive cohort on Tulare Union who is going through a similar thing — senior receiver Emoryie Edwards.
Edwards, a Fresno State commit, is making his own assault on the Central Section receiving record book. Edwards had nine catches for 263 yards and three touchdowns against Dinuba. Edwards is among state leaders with 751 yards receiving through five games.
Allen and Edwards highlighted a Tulare Union offense that compiled 677 yards of total offense. Junior Tribe quarterback Nathan Lamb was 15-of-22 passing for 338 yards and three scores.
And Tulare Union needed just about every ounce of Allen’s and Edwards’ spectacular exploits.
Dinuba made this game a lot more interesting that many thought it would be — even though both teams entered with 4-0 records.
The big preseason concern about Tulare Union was its defense. The Tribe appeared to calm those concerns by surrendering just 28 points through their first four games. But the defense struggled mightily at times against Dinuba.
Dinuba had 462 yards of total offense, and scored a great deal of success by picking on the right side of the Tulare Union defense.
The Emperors had a perfect start to the game by recovering a Tribe fumble on the opening kickoff.
On the Emperors’ first offensive play, Alek Marroquin ran behind the left side of this offensive line for a nine-yard touchdown — Dinuba’s runs behind the left side of its O-line became a primary theme to this contest.
And despite falling 28-14 late in the second quarter, Dinuba mounted a rally to seize a 35-34 lead in the middle of the third quarter.
After the Emperors took the lead, the two teams traded touchdowns over an 80-second stretch that witnessed Tulare Union converting a two-point-after-touchdown try, and Dinuba’s point-after attempt being blocked. That exchange made it 42-41 in the Tribe’s favor with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Dinuba would get overwhelmed by the exploits of Edwards and Allen over the final 16 minutes.
Edwards hauled in two touchdowns from Lamb to close out a very busy third quarter (seven total touchdowns were scored).
Allen capped his historical night with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the most memorable an 80-yard sprint through the middle of the Emperor defense on his 30th carry for the game’s final score.