Prep football | Palmetto has quarterback quandary after 21-0 spring game victory

Challenger Allison sharp in Palmetto's 21-0 victory

jdill@bradenton.comMay 24, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Coming into the spring, the Palmetto football team had a quandary at quarterback.

Rising junior Chris Tuten cemented his role as the starter during last season's run to the playoffs, while rising sophomore Jack Allison was on the junior varsity squad.

However, that didn't mean Allison was destined for an understudy part on the 2013 Palmetto varsity squad. Rather, he has a chance to compete against Tuten for the right to lead the Tigers in the fall.

After Thursday's spring game, he made the race a little tighter for head coach Dave Marino. Allison was the quarterback on two touchdowns in Palmetto's 21-0 victory over Booker at Harllee Stadium.

"It's going to be tight, real tight," Marino said. "(Allison) took two steps forward (Thursday). It's unfair to judge all of Tuten's lack of production because our offensive line issues. It's a combination. We want to get better offensively in the trenches on the offensive line, so we can really evaluate them equally."

Allison, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 183 pounds, entered the action in the second quarter, giving Tuten a spell under center.

The right-hander made an impact on his first series with his first pass attempt. It went for a 38-yard completion to rising senior wide receiver Simon Williams. That led to Josh Hicks' 17-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-2 play.

Later in that second period, Allison completed two consecutive passes, the latter finding Williams for a 46-yard score.

"Simon told me he was in one-on-one coverage," Allison said. "You've got to get pumped up when something like that happens."

But Tuten also held his own running the offense and delivered Palmetto's third scoring drive when he marched the Tigers 56 yards in 4 minutes, 36 seconds.

Quincy Washington capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, Palmetto's defense kept a frantic pace to record a shutout.

The Tigers racked up four sacks and two interceptions and recovered a fumble.

"We have nine returners on that defensive unit," Marino said. "Probably 16 guys started at one time. So you've got 16 guys fighting for 11 spots.

They did a great job this spring competing with one another, fighting for the 11 starting jobs."

Dequan Washington and Hicks logged the picks of Booker quarterback Jerimiah Henderson.

Hicks shined at running back and safety for Marino's club and showed why he's verbally committed to play Division I football at Rutgers.

"We lost our safety from last year, so Josh filled that void for us," Marino said. "We knew we were going to have to put our best 11 guys on defense and allow our offense to grow and mature. Once again, it's just a credit to Josh of what an unselfish team player he is."

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