Tigers’ Allen named 2018 Mr. Football

By MARLAN JONES,

Mendenhall High School senior quarterback Christian Allen has been named Mr. Football 2018 for Class 4A.  Allen was recognized at an awards ceremony and banquet held on Thursday, November 29 at the Hattiesburg Convention Center along with the five other Mr. Football honorees from across the state.  The Mr. Football award is the result of a partnership between the New Orleans Saints, the Mississippi Association of Coaches and the Mississippi High School Activities Association.  Each year a committee comprised of coaches and media representatives selects the winners—one from each of the MHSAA’s six classifications. At the awards ceremony, Don Hinton, Executive Director of the MHSAA, stated that when selecting the winners, the committee members look closely at the player’s stats, the impact the player had on his team and the player’s academic standing among other things.

Allen led the Mendenhall Tigers to a 10-2 record this year with 1,800 passing yards for 22 touchdowns and 1,050 rushing yards for 13 touchdowns. Allen completed his career at Mendenhall High School with 5453 total yards for 68 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions.

Although Allen earned the Mr. Football honor based largely on his outstanding performance as the school’s starting quarterback, he actually began his high school career as a receiver his sophomore year. It was not until his junior year that he made the move to the starting QB position.  Allen made the most of the transition, passing for over 1400 yards with 13 touchdowns and rushing for five additional touchdowns. The fact that Allen suffered a broken thumb in week eight of that season make those stats that much more impressive. That was a defining moment of his quarterback career.  "Finding a way to play through that type injury and coming out with a victory was huge. It taught me that even though things are rough, if the team can stay together and work even harder, anything is possible."

When asked about his most memorable game, Allen said "It has to be the Magee game of 2018.  It gave me an opportunity to step up and make plays.  It showed that our offense was not a one man show and that in order to stop us, you couldn't just focus on one player, but you had to stop all of us. It truly defined the team sports concept that we had been focusing on all year.”

Regarding the Mr. Football honor he recently received, Allen said "I was shocked to receive such an award.  I was disappointed a couple of months ago by not being nominated to play in the All-Star game; however, this award definitely was a tremendous honor being that only six of us in the state received it. Winning the award is bigger than me. It shows the kids that are coming up in Simpson County that with hard work and determination, there is no ceiling to their future.” He also said, “We really worked our tails off this year, and it was our goal as the senior leaders to set an example of success for the classes that are coming behind us.”

Allen has not yet decided where he will attend college next year but has several scholarship offers from which to choose.  He indicated he wants to be sure he makes a decision that will benefit him athletically and academically.  He eventually wants to become a pharmacist, so selecting the right school is very important to him.

Keynote speaker Reggie Collier, a former standout from USM who went on to play professional football in both the American and National Football Leagues, shared this bit of advice with the six honorees: “Don’t take this for granted. The farther you go, the more work it is going to take for you to get where you want to be.”  Allen has set his goals high and continues to strive to be the best.  He represents Mendenhall High School and Simpson County as a student athlete and a future leader.