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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Zion Allen, Manteca football
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Zion Allen

NCAA Division I programs have showed interest in the speedy 6-foot-1 receiver/cornerback despite his inexperience in the sport.

A track and field standout — he’s the reigning 100- and 200-meter champion in the Valley Oak League — Allen is a second-year football player who made some of the biggest plays in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final last Friday at St. Mary’s Sanguinetti Field. He tallied career highs with three catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-28 win over Oakdale. His electric 59-yard catch-and-run score with 28 seconds left was the deciding play.

Defensively, he contributed two tackles and defended two passes. It’s on defense where college coaches see his potential, but Allen was excited to get more chances to shine on the attack.

“I’ve been working on it,” he said. “Just got my reps in in practice and little by little earned the coaches’ trust.”

Quarterback Hudson Wyatt hit him for a 45-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half, giving the Buffaloes (10-3) a 21-7 lead. On their game-winning connection, Wyatt rolled out of pressure in the pocket and flung it to Allen who was open in the middle of the field. Allen put his game-breaking ability on display, spinning away from one Oakdale defender and then bursting past a safety for the TD.

“(Wyatt) got rushed and had to run out,” Allen said. “I just ran across the field and called for it. I made two moves and scored. I was very shocked, but happy it happened.”

Manteca travels to Wilcox of Santa Clara this Saturday for the California Interscholastic Federation Division II-A Regional Bowl Game.