Clovis High, ranked No. 1 in The Bee’s preseason football rankings, has absorbed a jolt before its first game in losing all-league running back Samir Allen with a broken leg.
Allen, who earned that Tri-River Athletic Conference honor last year as a sophomore, broke his right fibula in a minimal-contact practice drill, has had surgery and could be lost for the season.
“He won’t be playing for an extended period of time,” Cougars coach Rich Hammond said, “but I think he’ll play the second half of the year.”
Allen averaged 5.9 yards per carry while rushing for 855 yards – most in the second half of the season – for an 8-5 team that tied for second in the TRAC and reached the Central Section Division I semifinals.
“When you see a sophomore play like he did, that’s really exciting,” Hammond said. “More than anything, he’s a guy with a smile on his face, has such a good nature and well-liked by his teammates so much. His presence is so important, in the huddle and practice. That’s what we’ll miss in addition to his experience.”
When you see a sophomore play like he did, that’s really exciting. More than anything, he’s a guy with a smile on his face, has such a good nature and well-liked by his teammates so much. His presence is so important, in the huddle and practice. That’s what we’ll miss in addition to his experience.
Clovis coach Rich Hammond on the loss of running back Samir Allen
Allen’s absence will mean increased play for Christian Copeland and Nash Vidmar, who played on the junior varsity last year as sophomores.
Most of all, however, Allen’s loss will add emphasis to the two-way role of Josh Hokit, one of the section’s premier players.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is a three-time state placer in wrestling who’s been offered a football scholarship by Air Force as a safety.
He fits the mold of recent Clovis punishing defensive players who also made major offensive contributions as running backs in Bee All-Stars Adam Prentice, Adrian Salas and Dakota Gordon. They were exceptional wrestlers as well.
“Those wrestling guys train six months a year for intense 6-minute matches,” Hammond said. “So, cardiovascularly, they’re able to plays both ways in football. And, let’s be honest, those guys have been in high-pressure situations. Conditioning’s a big piece of this, but there’s no substitute for competition at a high level.
“Josh is a three-time state placer who has started for us since a sophomore, so that guy’s feet have been in the fire. He has the size, really, really long arms, can bring a load and is fast enough to take it to the house.”
Clovis will open the season at a 2014 Southern Section champion in Paso Robles next Friday before returning to Lamonica Stadium to play West Yosemite League power Lemoore on Sept. 4.