Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Max Allen
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY - Being a back in the wishbone offense is a prestigious position under Joe Pinyan-led teams. ---- But Max Allen doesn't need the accolades that predecessors John Knox and Romar Morris have gotten. Sometimes, he's just fine with creating holes for Justin Ruffin and Keion Adams. ---- Allen didn't make the headlines Friday night, but the magic at Ludwig doesn't happen without his help. It's fine with him if he doesn't end up on the highlights. ---- "In football, some people get recognized more than others," Allen said. "Me, as a running back, I know I can't get in the end zone without the offensive line. I feel like blocking is just like scoring a touchdown as long as we get in the end zone." ---- In a game with as wild a final two minutes as you'll see, Allen's consistency in opening holes for Brian Bauk and Justin Ruffin was a foil to an unpredictable last quarter. Salisbury had to score two touchdowns in the final 1:13 to beat Thomasville on Friday in a wild 43-39 win to clinch a share of the Central Carolina Conference. Allen was on the field for both plays. ---- "One of the big runs Justin had, Max just crushed a poor little defensive back," Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan said. "There's been games this year where's he's said 'Coach, I'm blocking really well tonight, give Justin [Ruffin] the ball." ---- Allen carries the ball with tenacity himself. He ran for a school record 294 yards in the Hornets' win against Winston-Salem Carver in the first round of the playoffs last year, a county playoff record. This year he's got 638 yards on the ground with five touchdowns. He reached the end zone for the third straight game on a two-yard burst early in the fourth quarter. ---- "The best part is he's a heck of a running back," Pinyan said. "He's a joy to coach." ---- None of the magic happens without Allen's containment and picking the blitzes. The coaching staff was especially impressed with Allen planting an explosive blow to a Thomasville defender on a toss to Ruffin in the second half. Don't assume blocking isn't fun to do. ---- "We call them db's, domination blocks," running backs coach Kory Fisher said. "Max just has a motor that's out of this world. He's like a fine-tuned machine." ---- On the touchdown pass, the Hornets were backed up against their own goal line and Allen helped Bauk get enough time to see Ruffin behind the secondary. He was on the field for the game winner too. Allen had a great view of Ruffin straddling the sideline and leaping into the end zone. When he landed, Salisbury was in first place in the league. ---- "It was the best experience of my life," Allen said. "I've never played in a game like that."