A Unique Season

Arkansas quarterback commitment Austin Allen will lead Fayetteville (9-3) against Bentonville (12-0) Saturday night in the Class 7A title game and then turn his attention to who he his new head coach might be and what they might mean for his family's future.

Fayetteville High quarterback, Arkansas commitment and Gatorade Player of the Year Austin Allen has the most unique perspective on the Razorback head coaching job of any of the school's current 16 pledges.

That's because Allen's dad Bobby is a defensive line coach for Arkansas, his brother Brandon was the Razorback back-up quarterback this season and he has been around the program since he was very little.

"It was obviously a tough year at Arkansas and didn't go the way anyone thought it would," Allen said. "I think all of us are just waiting around to see who our new head coach is going to be and how we are going to move forward from there.

"I haven't had a chance to discuss it with my dad because he has been all the road recruiting all week and I have just been concentrating on our game," Allen added. "That's been my main focus – winning the state championship."

Fayetteville (9-3) and Bentonville (12-0) will meet for the Class 7A state championship for the third straight year when they meet Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

The Tigers won in 2010 and the Purple Bulldogs – who also feature Arkansas commits in linebacker Brooks Ellis and safety Alex Brignoni – took the crown on the last play of the game in 2011.

"I think the Fayetteville and Bentonville series has turned into the best rivalry in the state," Allen said. "It's going to be another great game this weekend."

There are certainly some facts to back that up with the Purple Bulldogs owning a 13-12 edge in the last 25 games and the Tigers having a slight point differential at 572-570 during that time.

"That's just eerie," Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton told the Northwest Arkansas Times. "But it doesn't surprise me. That's impressive.

"You have two evenly matched teams, and both of them have equal talent and support from the community because they are one-school towns," Patton added. "The bottom line is neither team is going to run away and dominate the series."

The last couple of meetings have Fayetteville winning 29-28 in last season's title game and Bentonville rallying for a 24-17 home victory in this year's regular season meeting.

Allen has passed for 7,500 yard and 75 touchdowns in his career – including 3,395 yards and 239 touchdowns this season.

Bentonville senior tailback Tearris Wallace has 1,712 yards and 25 touchdowns this season and needs just two touchdowns this weekend to break Dedrick Poole's existing state record of 65 for a career.

"I think our two teams are evenly matched and it is just going to be how we execute on Saturday night and which team does not make mistakes," Allen said.

Fayetteville is in the title game after watching a 27-12 lead dissipate to North Little Rock and then needing Ryan Starr's late field goal to win 30-28 last week.

After Alabama tailback Altee Tenpenny scored, Allen took over with less than a minute left and no timeouts and hit two big passes to set up the game-winning kick.

"After Altee scored, I think there were probably a few doubters on the sideline and in the stands, but we just went to work and believed we could get it done," Allen said. "It was really exciting."

Allen was recently named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year, something for which he feels very honored.

"There are so many great players in Arkansas and for me to get the award is just something very special and something that I for which I am truly honored," Allen said. "But to me it is a team honor. I could not have done it without my teammates."

Austin Allen

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