In a game featuring two of the Central Section’s premier college-bound senior running backs, sophomore Kazmeir Allen stole the show.
Stepping in for an injured Romello Harris, Allen rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns to lead The Bee’s No. 12-ranked Tulare High to a 51-27 East Yosemite League victory over Porterville on Friday at Rankin Stadium.
Harris, the section’s No. 3 career rusher, exited with roughly 10 minutes left in the second quarter with a left knee injury. He did not return, not that Tulare needed him with Allen breaking touchdown runs of 11, 3, 39 and 9 yards on a 24-carry night.
“I was ready,” Allen said. “My offensive line did good. I just had to run hard and give all my effort hitting the holes.”
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Harris, who increased his four-year rushing total to 7,311 with 104 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries before departing, said he could have returned if needed. He walked off gingerly when hurt, but jogged off following postgame handshakes.
“I wasn’t worried,” Harris said. “The offense can score without me.”
Eric Robles at left tackle, left guard Isaak Ramirez, center Marcus Alonzo, right guard Ulisis Nunez and right tackle Brian Wendt paved the way for Tulare (8-0, 3-0) to pile up 567 yards, including 274 passing by Josh Guerrero. His favorite target was Emoryie Edwards, who caught 10 passes for 183 yards.
Porterville’s Isaiah Jones, the other marquee attraction in the duel of star running backs, scored on a 17-yard run to cap a second half-opening drive that cut the Panthers’ deficit to 28-27.
The Redskins limited Porterville (2-6, 1-2) to 31 yards the rest of the game as they pulled away.
“The defense in the second half stopped them,” Tulare coach Darren Bennett said. “That changed things for us.”
Jones finished with 228 yards rushing and two touchdowns.