A Dallas Jesuit defender was on the ground and had his hands wrapped around the ankle of Allen senior quarterback Grant Tisdale for what initially appeared to be a sure sack for the Rangers. But Tisdale wasn’t about to be taken down.
Tisdale broke free of the ankle tackle, darted ahead, shed another tackle up the field for a 15-yard gain, giving the defending state champions a spark they desperately needed after the Eagles were forced to punt on each of their first two offensive possessions.
Allen’s offense came to life in a big way after Tisdale’s scamper, scoring 23 second-quarter points on touchdown runs of 1 and 17 yards by Celdon Manning and a 61-yard TD pass from Tisdale to Theo Wease, on its way to earning a 43-14 victory over Jesuit in a District 9-6A contest Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
“I was just trying to help the team,” Tisdale said. “I did (feel the Jesuit player on his ankle) but I was just trying to make a play for the team, because we started this game a little slow. I was just trying to get a little momentum.”
Manning put Allen (7-0 overall, 4-0 9-6A) on the board with a 1-yard run up the middle on the first play of the second quarter for a 7-0 lead after James Griffith’s extra point kick was good. Tisdale’s 15-yard run set up that score.
“It really set the tone,” Allen coach Terry Gambill said of Tisdale’s 15-yard run.
Manning channeled his inner Tisdale on the ensuing Allen drive. He shed an ankle tackle and burst up the middle of the field for a 17-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Eagles lead with 7:19 remaining until halftime. He finished with 75 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries.
“Honestly, I was mad,” Manning said. “I just wanted to score because the game was close.”
Allen made it three touchdowns in as many drives a short time later. Tisdale launched a deep pass to the right sideline for Wease who caught the ball despite being draped in heavy one-on-one coverage deep in Jesuit territory and proceeded to run the remaining yardage for a 61-yard touchdown reception and a 20-0 Eagles lead.
Tisdale completed 8-of-14 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries and also had a 43-yard touchdown run erased by a holding penalty.
James Griffith capped off the scoring frenzy with a 25-yard field goal on Allen’s next drive for a 23-0 lead with 1:35 remaining in the second quarter. That score was set up by a Cornelius Williams interception.
“We rushed the quarterback, he kind of panicked, kind of threw it up and I was there for the pick,” Williams said of his interception. “I tried to take it back but was winded at the end. It was a good timely play. I was right there, and I’ve got to thank the d-line for getting that pressure.”
Neither offense could muster any traction in the early going, although Jesuit (2-5, 1-3) had a nice drive working midway in the first quarter. Rangers quarterback Kevin Shuman completed passes of 9 yards, 16 and 11 to drive Jesuit to near midfield in a scoreless game. However, a holding penalty stalled that drive, and the Rangers were forced to punt a short time later.
Allen outgained Jesuit 246-92 in the first half and had 11 first downs to Jesuit’s five.
A 60-yard kickoff return by Jesuit’s Jhalen Spicer to open the second half helped the Rangers to crawl within two possessions of the Eagles on two separate occasions in the second half – both on touchdown runs by E.J. Smith (105 rushing yards) – but Allen answered every test, on its way to earning a 23rd consecutive victory.
Play of the game: Wease caught a 61-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a play in which he was heavily defended by a Jesuit cornerback near the right sideline but caught the ball in stride on his way to pay-dirt and a 20-0 Allen lead.
Offensive player of the game: Tisdale. He jump-started the Allen offense with his 15-yard run in the second quarter as the Eagles scored 23 points in the second 12 minutes of play. His second of two touchdown passes was a 33-yard dart to Blaine Green with 8:06 remaining in the third quarter for a 30-7 Eagles lead.
Defensive player of the game: Williams’ interception of a Jesuit quarterback late in the second quarter that led to a 25-yard James Griffith field goal helped him to earn the nod.
Unsung hero of the game: Allen deep snapper Justin Taylor pinned Jesuit inside its own 20-yard line with two outstanding punts in the first half.
It was over when: Manning ran for a 1-yard touchdown – his third TD of the game – for a 37-14 Eagles lead with 7:56 remaining in the fourth quarter. That score came shortly after Ja’Juan Mason returned a punt 18 yards to the Rangers’ 37.
What’s next? Jesuit continues district play at Plano on Friday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. Allen continues its five-game homestand against McKinney Boyd.