Since they were sophomores at Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School in 2011, quarterback Kyle Allen and receiver Mark Andrews were destined to play on Sundays.
At least that is what coach Tony Tabor believed when he coached them.
“I’m not just saying that,” said Tabor, now an assistant coach at Mesa Mountain View. “By the time they were sophomores, they just had all that.”
Six years after playing their last high school season together, they’ve had their best NFL games against their hometown Arizona Cardinals each of the past two weeks.
Starting in place of injured Cam Newton on Sunday, Allen showed remarkable poise under duress and completed 19 of 26 for 261 yards and four TDs, leading the Carolina Panthers to a 38-20 win.
More than a week ago, Andrews, in his second year with the Baltimore Ravens, caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in a 23-17 victory.
“You watched him yesterday,” Tabor said about Allen, “and he looked like the same kid when he had me. He was calm, he was cool, he was collected. He was throwing balls on a rope. I know he worked and trained for that. It’s just great to see him with that opportunity.
“Mark, watching him, I know he got shut down a little bit yesterday. But two 100-yard games, he’s tearing it up. Those two guys, being around them, I knew they should play on Sundays. I thought they had pretty good shots.”
When Andrews showed up to Desert Mountain as a freshman, Tabor said Andrews told him he had never had played football.
“He slam-dunked a basketball,” Tabor said. “He said, ‘I want to play football.’ I said, ‘We’ll find something for you to do.’
“Kyle had played ball with some of my lower-level coaches. He was a stud. He’d been around Luke Rubenzer (former Saguaro quarterback). Kyle didn’t just show up to want to play football. He was always groomed to be a quarterback.”