Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Allen's dominant D, team legacy reflected in Div. I signees
ALLEN — On the day when thousands of athletes across the country made their college choices official, several Allen football players signed twice.
There was the national letter of intent to sign, of course. But before that, a miniature helmet was awaiting an autograph. Once signed, the helmets of the athletes’ chosen colleges would be added to a large collection displayed on a wall in the office of defensive coordinator Cory Cain.
“That’s one of our goals, you know,” said defensive back Chad Adams, who signed with Arizona State. “To get on the wall.”
The wall is getting a little crowded, especially with Wednesday’s addition of players such as linebacker Tay Evans (Oklahoma), offensive lineman Tejan Koroma (Brigham Young), defensive back Mayomi Olootu (Northern Illinois) and linebacker Christian Sam (Arizona State). But that, of course, is a good problem for Cain and the Allen football program.
Other good problems at Allen include the need to repaint the large “state champions” sign that is the first thing you see when approaching Eagle Stadium. Allen needs to add 2013 to the 2012 and 2008 championship years.
Perhaps the best problem at Allen, at least from a coaching standpoint, is developing next year’s seniors. It features three players among SportsDay’s top-50 area recruits in the Class of 2015: quarterback Kyler Murray, receiver Jalen Guyton and offensive lineman Bobby Evans.
For the Allen coaches, it’s tough to see talented, hard-working players leave the program. Allen had 14 football signees this year, including five who signed with Oklahoma Baptist.
But good football programs always have another class ready.
“It happens every year,” coach Tom Westerberg said. “We have a great group come through and then another group comes through. It’s been a fun ride for these seniors.”
It was a fun finale for them at Allen’s signing day celebration, which honored 40 athletes from 11 sports, including those who signed earlier in the year. Athletes were called up individually, and football players didn’t sign until the end, giving them a chance to reminisce about the best moments of the last two seasons.
Those moments include a 63-28 victory over Pearland in the Class 5A Division I championship game in December. But the game that got Allen to the title matchup is the one that is freshest in the players’ minds.
In the semifinals, Allen trailed DeSoto by 15 points in the fourth quarter before rallying to win, 42-35.
“One big play changed it all, and we came back to win the championship,” Evans said. “We all thought the game was over.”
Now their time at high school is close to over. And although they’re teenagers with bigger things ahead of them, the players got a little nostalgic as they mingled in the Allen ISD activity center. They signed their letters of intent in a field house where they had practiced many times next to a sign that reads, “We will win.”
Adams said it felt surreal. Koroma said he felt older as he prepared to sign. Evans, who committed to Oklahoma before the start of his senior year, was happy to officially be a Sooner — and happy that he could celebrate with the Allen Eagles one more time.
“I’ve played with these guys since I was little,” Evans said. “It’s crazy.”