Vaught's Views

Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen, center, and his coach, Nigel Smith, got the news from Louisville Quarterback Club president Gordon Crawford that Allen was this year's Paul Hornung Award winner. 

Before his team played Lexington Catholic this season Frederick Douglas coach Brian Landis watched eight game videos of Catholic quarterback Beau Allen. He was impressed then, but even more impressed after his team beat Catholic 42-31.

“Beau was as good as advertised. I was more impressed with each game I saw him play and then against us he showed his grit and toughness. We hit him and were able to get pressure with our front four, but he never got rattled,” Landis said. “My worry going into the game was his ability to escape pressure and find his guys downfield. He did a good job , buying some time when we missed and was able to make some great throws.”

Allen completed 28 of 44 passes for 286 yards and one score against Douglas. He threw for a touchdown and ran for another one in Douglas’ 42-31 win. If those numbers don’t impress you, consider that Douglas has given up just 36 points in 12 other games and has shut out eight teams (BEFORE FRIDAY GAME).

Allen won the Paul Hornung Award last week given by the Louisville Quarterback Club to the state’s top high school player. He throw for 3,683 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2019 and ran for 517 yards and 12 scores. The Lexington Catholic quarterback finished his career with 11,439 yards passing and 127 touchdowns, both fifth all-time in Kentucky, along with 1,133 yards rushing and 20 more touchdowns.

Catholic coach Nigel Smith, a former UK player, believes the “sky is the limit” for his star player in college and is not worried about him being overwhelmed by SEC competition like some are.

“I think his talent speaks for itself but I think one of the things he has really picked up the last couple of years is knowing when and where to use his talent, and that includes his legs,” Smith said. “He is probably as underrated as a runner as a pocket passer would be. He led us in rushing several games the last two years. He had almost 200 yards rushing in the Belfry game (in the playoffs) last year.

“He’s not afraid to run the ball and when your quarterback has the arm talent he has and then the ability to use his legs, it’s really crucial to a team and hard on a defense. That threat of a running quarterback just makes that threat of a passing quarterback even more dangerous. Beau is the total package.”

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops watched the Catholic-Douglas game and Landis told the UK coach that Allen “was elite” when it came to moving in the pocket despite the pressure Douglas’ talented defense put on him.

“He does a great job of getting out of trouble, feeling pressure and avoiding pressure while keeping his eyes down the field,” Landis said. “He is sneaky fast as well. He is deceiving. Faster than he looks. Made a few big first downs with his legs against us.

“He’s a tough kid. We got after him pretty good, put him on the ground, but he never got rattled. It was impressive. He’s not the kind of kid that is going to get gun shy after taking a lick.”

That’s one reason Catholic was able to make some big comebacks in games this season. Allen doesn’t back down from adversity.

“We were down in a lot of games and we handled it the right way. We handled tough situations and came back and won games, and I am so proud of that,” he said.

Allen understands how difficult it was for UK to change offenses midseason after injuries sidelined the top two quarterbacks. The Cats lost the ability to pass when starter Terry Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury and then backup Sawyer Smith became ineffective in his second start due to injuries. Stoops finally moved receiver Lynn Bowden to quarterback in game six and UK has basically a one-dimensional running offense now.

“They won big games and did a great job changing the offense,” Allen said. “Nobody in the world would have expected to be in the situation they are in and nobody I can think of in a situation like that could have done any better than what they have done. I really think highly of them (UK coaches) for the way they are winning games.”

Landis has no doubts Allen has the talent to help Kentucky keep winning. He thinks Allen will “be just fine” in the SEC.

“He has the things you can’t teach. The competitive spirit, toughness, accuracy and vision. The good ones have that stuff. He is elite in some of those areas, so yes, I think he will be a great addition to UK,” Landis said. “He processes well, makes good decisions for the most part, and competes.

“And he’s a great kid. I’ve known him for a short while now, and absolutely one of the most genuine kids you will ever meet. I wish him all the best. Glad I don’t have to play against him again.”

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