Antonio Allen likes the comparison.
In fact, it’s one that has been discussed among the Blaze.
Now, it’s up to the third-year starting linebacker and teammate Austin Mosier to live up to it.
The two inside linebackers have drawn comparisons to former Blaze linebackers Jess Patton and Hunter Thompson.
“That’s what we try to mold ourselves after,” Allen admits. “They use to be rough on us in practice, and we try to take that mentality to the practice field and the game field.”
Allen is the reigning District 7-AAA Defensive MVP after helping lead the Blaze to an 8-4 season in 2012. Blackman finished runner-up in 7-AAA. Defensively, the Blaze held opponents to 232.1 yards a game.
He had 56 tackles and a sack.
Allen was big part of that as the leader on defense.
“The thing about Antonio is his football IQ is as high as anyone I’ve ever coached,” Blackman coach Philip Shadowens said. “He understands the game and understands where everyone else should be.
“He a 6-foot 3½, 245-pound linebacker that can play, play. He’s certainly a leader out there for us.”
Allen said he and Mosier are on the same page as their role on defense. Both players like to play physical football.
“He’s a downhill hitter,” Allen said. “We’ve got a great understanding on what we need to do for the team to succeed this year.”
And that will be to make stops on defense.
Blackman’s defense gave up 20.7 points a game a year ago. It was nearly four points better than 2011 and almost 60 yards less allowed a game.
“I’m looking forward to our defense this year,” Allen said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors, and a lot of new starters.”
Time will tell how good the defense is for the Blaze.
Allen also has a role on offense.
Allen will start at fullback for the Blaze, where he rushed for 344 yards on 57 carries.
Shadowens said Allen’s ball carrying will differ from week to week depending on the need.
“It depends on what we think we can get accomplished from an offensive standpoint,” Shadowens said. “Yes, obviously he’s a kid that you can hand the ball off to 10 to 15 times a game.”