BRADENTON -- When in doubt, give the rock to Courtney Allen.
Southeast's speedy running back racked up 235 yards of total offense and four touchdowns as the host Seminoles celebrated their homecoming with a 25-14 victory over Bayshore in Friday's Class 5A-District 10 matchup at John Kiker Memorial Stadium.
"He's really good," Southeast head coach Paul Maechtle said. "He can do a lot of things. He makes people miss, and he's strong enough to finish. He has great hands out of the backfield."
Allen, who played through knee pain, was slowed to 43 rushing yards in the first half as the Bruins defense held firm.
But Allen couldn't be contained for the entire night.
"I don't think you bottle a kid like that up," Bayshore head coach Jean P. Gordon said. "You try to contain him, and I thought our kids did pretty well in the first half."
Late in the first half, Southeast (6-2 overall, 2-0 district), which had good field position on four of five possessions in the half, faced a key third and 4 from the Bayshore 19.
Noles quarterback Myles Braxton-Johnson rolled to his left looking for an open receiver. Allen's route left him as a safety valve short, but as Braxton-Johnson kept searching the 5-foot-7 junior tailback turned upfield.
Braxton-Johnson lobbed a pass to the front corner of the end zone, and the shifty Allen got his feet down as he controlled possession for a 19-yard touchdown with 2:02 remaining in the second quarter.
A missed extra point gave the Noles a 6-0 lead.
The boost, though, from
the scoring drive just before intermission coupled with what Allen said was an inspirational speech from the coaching staff at halftime provided the spark Southeast needed to get a pivotal district victory.
"That's the most important thing," said Maechtle about improving to 2-0 in the district with two district games left.
Southeast capitalized on a short field to open the third quarter with an Allen 8-yard TD run. He then added scores of 7 and 60 yards wrapped around two Bayshore touchdowns to account for the remaining scoring.
Wesley Jackson had a 2-yard TD on a quarterback sneak midway through the fourth quarter and hit Zach Stuber for a 21-yard scoring strike with 6.9 seconds remaining in the contest.
However, it was Allen who generated the offense in a game that was a defensive battle for two quarters.
"I told my offensive line to pick up the pace a little bit," said Allen, who had 161 rushing yards on 21 carries and five receptions for 74 yards. "We put in extra work, every day after practice we go in there, putting in work. And I told them to keep working hard and that long run would come. And that's what they did."
Southeast's defense limited Bayshore (2-7 overall, 0-3 district) to 164 yards of total offense. The Bruins had 112 rushing yards on 45 attempts.
The Noles host Wauchula Hardee in another key 5A-10 matchup that could earn Southeast a playoff berth with a win, before they travel to No. 1-ranked Palmetto to close out the regular season.