Allison keeps surprising Raiders

Rider junior has been an asset at any position this year

Andy Newberry
Patrick Johnston/Times Record News
Rider's Davon Allison has played well at wide receiver and as a fill in at quarterback this season.

Patrick Johnston/Times Record News Rider's Davon Allison has played well at wide receiver and as a fill in at quarterback this season.

The odds on Davon Allison being the starting quarterback for Rider's showdown with Denton Guyer and rivalry game with Wichita Falls High School this year were extremely low.

The odds of him being the leading receiver in a playoff game were better but not extremely high just a couple of years ago.

But Allison has learned the way to keep beating the odds is to work hard and be ready. And the versatile junior has been contributed to Rider's 10-2 season that continues at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4A Division II regional semifinals in Midland.

The Raiders seemingly have a different leading receiver every week, but they'll likely give Allison a chance to make some more big plays when they take on El Paso Burges (10-2).

Allison didn't hit the field at Rider as a coming star. He was on the freshman B team. He began last year on the second junior varsity team.

But by the end of the year he was one of the best receivers on the JV team. In the spring, he was forcing the varsity coaches to take notice and make him a big part of their plans.

He caught three passes for 52 yards from J.T. Barrett in the season opener.

But no one would have predicted how much the Raiders would need from Allison as the year unfolded. The top two quarterbacks went down to injury. So Allison was needed at the position he played in junior high, admittedly as a run-first quarterback. He even had to change jerseys from No. 80 to his current No. 19.

So when Rider went to Denton to face Guyer with the District 5-4A championship on the line, it was Allison as the top quarterback.

Allison didn't lead the Raiders to a storybook win — they lost 21-10 — but he rushed 15 times for 60 yards and completed 7 of 11 passes for 52 yards. He helped convert some key third downs and didn't hurt his team's chances with turnovers.

Rider coach Jim Garfield didn't know what results he'd get with Allison taking snaps. But he was certain of the attitude and effort that would be applied.

"He's a team player. It doesn't matter what he gets," Garfield said. "Such a great attitude. He really came on in the spring and was catching everything in the summer. He wants the team to be successful, and that's how our whole outfit is now."

Allison also started the 49-0 victory over Wichita Falls High School, although that was the night Chase London returned from his injury. Allison was glad to have No. 17 back on his side.

And in the bi-district win over Fort Worth Dunbar, it was Allison's turn to shine with his first career rushing touchdown — a 42-yarder from the quarterback spot — and his first receiving touchdown, a 27-yarder from London.

"It was an amazing experience, my first time all year," Allison said of the TDs. "I like playing quarterback, but Chase, he's better. He's got more experience."

And with Brandon Williams gone at receiver the Raiders had another need for Allison. He followed up his first career playoff game, where he scored two touchdowns by posting team highs of seven receptions and 84 yards in a 31-21 win over Fort Worth Southwest.

"I learned a lot while playing quarterback about the wide receiver game," said Allison, who still attends the film sessions with the quarterbacks. "It was a lot of responsibility, but I had to do it. I got to step up when they need it."

"He goes out there and has a big smile on his face," Garfield said. "He's always positive."

The results have been positive, too. Allison said coaches Robby Wood, Marc Bindel and Tim Radtke have helped him a lot. They'd tell you that Allison made his year possible by working hard all year.

"We work hard," Allison said. "We're one family. I would do anything for these boys, and they would do anything for me. We just work hard and play hard. I think if we work hard in practice and have no slip ups that we can keep this thing going."

© 2012 Times Record News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1. Ben Davis, Graham (2,690Yds, 28TDs)
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