LITTLE ROCK - It was a much different Monday for Fayetteville quarterback Brandon Allen and his Purple Bulldogs than the previous one.
Instead of getting steamrolled by a loaded Shiloh Christian squad in a preseason scrimmage, Fayetteville opened up its 2009 season by blasting Little Rock Central 31-0 at War Memorial Stadium in the state's first high school game of the 2009 season.
Allen (6-2, 210), who has been offered by the University of Arkansas, was 13-of-22 passing for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns and was named the MVP of the first of the four Kickoff Classic games.
"We needed that one pretty bad," Allen said. "(Last) Monday was a bad outing for us. We did not come out to play. Today I thought we were a lot more focused and it showed on the scoreboard."
It didn't hurt that the Bulldogs were feeling a little embarrassed.
"That night, we felt bad, but the next day in practice, it was off our minds and were getting ready for Central," Allen said.
"It may have given us some more anger, some more want to out there," Allen said. "After that scrimmage, we were determined to come out here and win tonight."
But probably more important than the anger was the running game, which junoor Dylan Hale led with 76 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 carries.
"Today we established the running game early," Allen said. "It definitely helped over the past game. It made us a total offense today and we were pretty good."
That was a stated intent according to Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton.
"We had to try and establish a running game," Patton said. "We are not great running the football, but we had to at least be a little bit balanced. We had several big play-action passes off the run that helped us.
I thought it gave Brandon a little bit more confidence," Patton added. "He was able to get the ball down the field a little bit more because we had a few more guys in there protecting."
"When you've got a guy like him that can throw the football – well, he did a great job picking out receivers and delivering it."
Michael Heintzman had 5 catches for 112 yards, including TD passes of 30 and 20 yards from Allen.
UA junior commit Demetrius Dean, who did not start as a disciplinary move, had 3 catches for 41 yards while Dylan Hale caught 2 passes for 27 yards and Josh Hale 2 for 21.
"The receivers really made catches for me," Allen said. "I put them where they were supposed to be and they made plays. The offensive line did a great job tonight. They bought me a lot of time and I found the receivers when I had time."
The defense also picked up according to Patton.
"We may not play a team as good as Shiloh all year," Patton said. "But what they showed us was some weaknesses we had to work on. We worked hard on tackling this week. I thought we tackled better against some pretty quick and elusive backs."
Fayetteville take a step up in competition on Sept. 11 when it hosts Missouri powerhouse Jefferson City.
"I think in practice we just have got to become more of a team and click on some things, keep going with the run game and that will help us a lot," Allen said.
O o o
In the other Monday night Kickoff Classic game, CAC downed Pine Bluff Dollarway 20-14.
Jonathan Edwards had 7 tackles and was named the MVP while junior tailback Jalen Watkins led the CAC offense with 17 carries for 125 yards.
Tuesday's games have Warren and Watson Chapel meeting at 5 p.m. before Michael Dyer leads Little Rock Christian against Pulaski Oak Grove at 7:30.
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