Plainview was trying to pick on him.
The Bears opened up their quarterfinals matchup against No. 5 Piedmont last Friday with a deep pass attempt thrown toward the Bulldogs’ defensive back as he lined up in man-to-man coverage against 6-foot-2 senior wide receiver Colby Williams.
But Allison, a senior in his first year as a starter, wasn’t having it. He batted the pass away and ended the game with five pass breakups while being whistled for pass interference just once to render a matchup Plainview obviously thought it could exploit virtually fruitless as the Bulldogs went on to a 28-7 victory.
“I felt like, ‘Dang, they think I’m the weak link.’ They kept doing it (throwing toward him),” Allison said of the Bears, who only attempted four passes in their second-round game against Pisgah. “Toward the end of the game, they kind of went away from me.”
The Bulldogs (12-1) face No. 2 Hamilton in the semifinals of the AHSAA Class 3A state playoffs tonight at the Field of the Champions. They expect the No. 2 Aggies and their version of the spread offense, which has amassed nearly 5,000 yards and scored close to 550 points, to try and test their secondary as well.
The winner will take on either No. 1 Leeds (13-0) or No. 7 Gordo (12-1) in the state title game Thursday at 11 a.m. at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“We’ve got the utmost confidence in Colton as well as Mookie (Derrick Jackson) and Noah (Willis) and Jamaal (Johnson), all of our secondary guys,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said. “We ask them to do a lot. We ask them to play a lot of man coverage.
“What you have to realize in man coverage is that it doesn’t take a genius to realize when somebody gets beat. What a lot of people don’t realize is that if that guy gets beat a couple times during the game, they’re thinking, ‘Gosh, he’s not doing his job,’ there are probably 35 more times during that game that he’s got his guy shut down.”
A dangerous dual-threat quarterback in sophomore Mitch Stults leads the Aggies. The 5-9, 165-pound dynamo has completed 99 of 153 passing attempts this season for 1,994 yards and 23 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions. He’s also the team’s third-leading rusher with 490 yards and nine scores on 91 carries on his way to leading Hamilton to a perfect 13-0 record.
Tonight won’t be the first time Piedmont has seen Hamilton or Stults. The Bulldogs defeated the Aggies 63-35 in the quarterfinals last year, picking off the young signal-caller five times en route to the victory.
Johnson headlines the Bulldogs’ secondary. The safety was a first-team all-state selection as a junior last year. He’s the team’s second-leading tackler behind sophomore linebacker Jamie Major with 89 stops and tied with Willis, also a safety, for the team mark in interceptions with five. Jackson, who mans the other corner spot, has two picks on the season. Landon Pruitt has one interception.
The Bulldogs will rely on a front line anchored by all-state defensive tackle Mickey Jackson to apply enough pressure to hurry Stults. The 6-1, 308-pounder holds scholarship offers from UAB, Memphis, Southern Miss. and Louisiana Tech and leads Piedmont with 12 sacks. He has 74 tackles, including 29 for loss.
“Everybody knows about our front three,” said Willis, who has 49 tackles on the season. “Nobody runs the ball in between the tackles against us.”
And if the Aggies want to go at Allison, he’ll be right there, ready for the challenge.
“I like it,” Allison said. “I like to be right up in a guys face instead of playing zone.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.