Work horse: Senior football player puts in time for offense, defense

Jasmine Samis

Four and out, a defensive player’s goal each time he takes the field. He aims to spend as little time on the field as possible to give his offense more time to score. Senior Tanner Allen does not take a break from the game when the defense comes off though, but instead stays on to block for his quarterback on offense. Playing a single side of the ball in football requires a lot of stamina, speed, and agility, but playing both takes a special kind of player. Being on the field play-after-play can take its toll on a player, but Tanner takes it all in stride.

“Playing both sides of football isn’t hard,” Tanner said. “Especially if a player’s been playing for a long time. They just have to stay well-conditioned, work hard, and practice.”

In order to play both sides, Tanner’s coaches recognized his skill set and stamina.

“Tanner’s drive was a specific skill that stood out to me,” offensive coach Scott Garcia said. “His level of high motor skills was what helped me decide to have him play offense while playing defense because he can easily go both ways.”

Tanner started playing football when he was eight, mostly playing defense. When he started playing both offense and defense, he realized he preferred the different coaching styles and the ability to move around the ball.

“The coaches help with each side of the ball because they give me flexibility,” Tanner said. “I know I’m not going to be just playing one spot every day and that keeps things fun.”

Defensive coach Michael Woodall sees how playing Tanner on both sides has helped his defense skills.

  “Playing offense has helped with Tanner’s defense,” Woodall said. “It’s the experience that has helped him understand the little details about what goes on on the field.”

Both of Tanner’s coaches believe that for future football teams, Tanner has the ability to continue playing both sides of the ball. 

“Tanner has the size, the capability, and the speed to continue playing both sides if he wants to,” Garcia said. “He’s able to anticipate more of what the offensive lineman’s going to do because playing both sides has opened his eyes about what he needs to do when he plays offensive line.”

Though the game comes easy for him, Tanner believes it is because of all the work he puts in day in and day out.

 “Football has taught me that not everything comes easy,” Tanner said. “You have to work for things you want, like a victory, because it doesn’t just show up.”