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Pasco K Allen ready to go the distance

DADE CITY — He possesses a soccer background and golf vernacular. For Pasco volunteer kicking coach John Sousa, the craft of extra points and field goals comes down to backswing, approach and putting the right amount of "club" into the ball.

"Your field goals are your clubs," said Sousa, a soccer coach at various levels for more than two decades. "A pitching wedge, maybe a 5-iron if you need a little more distance on it. So it's all foot position and the way you approach the ball."

Furthering that golf analogy, Sousa sees a bit of Tiger in the guy who will tee it up tonight at W.F. Edwards Stadium.

He thinks lanky junior Brennan Allen is that good.

"If he uses his skill and goes through the ball nicely and lets his club do the work, we're good," Sousa said. "He can hit 45 to 50 (yards)."

So far this season, we've seen a Pirates game come down to Chaise Dunn's hands (see Hudson), Jarrod Carmody's heart (see Gulf rematch) and Jamall Haynes' durability (see Zephyr­hills).

At some point, perhaps in the final seconds of tonight's Class 3A state semifinal against Tallahassee Godby, one has to reason it will come down to Allen's leg. If that happens, Pasco's odds are favorable. So is Allen's outlook.

"I'd love that," said Allen, who never has attempted a last-second, game-deciding field goal. "I've always wanted to win the game with a kick."

In a sense, he did that in last week's 13-12 win against North Marion, although he didn't realize it at the time. Allen's 27-yard knuckleball — he took his eye off it momentarily — early in the fourth quarter proved the difference.

Add the 45-yarder he made in the third quarter, and he has converted 10 of 16 field-goal tries. His longest: a 53-yarder in the Pirates' one-point loss to Nature Coast. He has converted 34 PATs, missed only one (not counting blocks) and sent 42 of his 65 kickoffs for touchbacks.

Call it potential first realized in the Mighty Mites division of Dade City's Police Athletic League, where Allen — not yet in middle school — started kicking.

"Brennan knew how to kick," said Sousa, an Illinois native who counts ex-Georgia Tech kicker David Frakes among his pupils and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen among his buddies.

"He was kicking soccer style, but he just needed someone to work with him on his coordination, on his flexibility. So once I got him lifting his right leg over his head, now he has more swing on it."

To help Allen contort himself, Sousa provided a list of no fewer than 30 stretching exercises — from calves to quad muscles — that Allen (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) does routinely.

Who knows? Late tonight they just might help stretch Pasco's season another week.

"High school is a steppingstone for Brennan," Sousa said. "He's gonna go somewhere."

Pasco K Allen ready to go the distance 12/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 11, 2008 8:27pm]
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