Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Max Allen
By Ronnie Gallagher
SALISBURY — In a coach’s eye, you’ve got to do more than just score to be a Friday Night Hero.
Just ask Salisbury’s Joe Pinyan.
He usually gives the ball to four main Hornets: Brian Bauk, Dominique Dismuke, Justin Ruffin and Max Allen.
In a 43-7 pasting of Carson on Friday, the only one not to score was Allen: Salisbury’s Friday Night Hero.
How did that happen? Pinyan got a ‘Max’imum effort from his junior fullback.
“He played harder than anybody I’ve ever seen in high school,” said Pinyan. who added Allen graded through the roof.
One snap proved it. Salisbury ran a toss play to the left and Allen, the fullback, went right. Ruffin was racing down the opposite sideline and needed a block to spring him.
“Max came all the way across the field to make a block,” Pinyan marveled. “That kid hustled more in one game than any kid I’ve ever coached.”
For the record, Allen finished with 59 yards on 14 carries. And it didn’t matter that he never scored. He was just as happy for Ruffin, who crossed the goal line four times.
“We all play as a team,” Allen smiled. “When a running back scores, we all score. I give him a big ol’ hug and go on to the next play.”
Allen isn’t the biggest fullback around at 5-9, 175. He reminds Pinyan of Ike Whitaker, now at Lenoir-Rhyne.
And like Whitaker, Allen has no problem taking on anybody, including Carson’s behemoth defensive lineman Jeremiah Smith.
“Smith’s a monster,” Pinyan said. “I bet he hit Max 18,000 times and he got up every time and kept going.”
Allen had to obtain a new mindset when he came here after spending his first two years at East Rowan.
“Over here, there’s no slacking around,” Allen said. “Everybody works hard. Every game, you go hard.”
Allen learned that the hard way.
“It took a while for him to get used to how we do things,” Pinyan said. “In the first game (against East) he got bumped and bruised a little bit and wanted to come out for a rest. Well, we don’t do that. You keep playing unless you’re really, really hurt. After three or four plays he wanted to go back in. I said, ‘No, you’re hurt.’ ”
Allen got the message.
“He never asked to come out again,” Pinyan grinned.
It wasn’t a big transition for Allen to come to Salisbury. He attended Knox Middle before going to East.
“I knew a lot of the guys,” he said.
“When he came over, we saw we didn’t have a fullback,” Pinyan said. “That’s where he best fit in. He wants to play and he wants to win.”
“We work, work, work, work to be prepared for every practice, and when game-time comes, let’s go,” Allen smiled.
That talk carried over to the field. Allen made it a joy for his coach to turn on the film after Friday’s win.
“It was fun to watch him play — and he got no stats,” Pinyan beamed.