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Record-setting QB Bill Allen ‘amazed’ at numbers that passed him by

November 10, 2017 FieldsColumn


Bill Allen (left) was an all-state quarterback at Morgan County in 1983. His dad, Henry (right) was a QB at Morgan County in the late 1940s and early ’50s. Bill’s son Beau (middle) is a sophomore QB at Lexington Catholic. (Photo by Mike Fields)

BY MIKE FIELDS (Nov. 10, 2017)

When Bill Allen happened upon the lists of state football records on the KHSAA web site recently, he was stunned by some of the numbers he saw.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “Some of the stats were just amazing.”

Allen was particularly interested in the passing records.

After all, he was the Courier-Journal’s first-team All-State quarterback in 1983, and finished his career at Morgan County as the state’s all-time leader in passing yards (6,440). He also ranked near the top in completions (443), attempts (800) and touchdown passes (42).

But 34 years later, Allen’s numbers have been left in the dust.

Kentucky high school football became a high-flying passing game for a lot of teams in the 1990s, and it’s been airborne ever since.

Allen thinks the change happened in large part because UK coach Hal Mumme unleashed his Air Raid offense, and Leslie County QB Tim Couch passed his way into the national record book.

High school programs across the state took notice, and lots of coaches adopted a more wide-open offensive philosophy.

Clay County’s Zach Lewis (2005-08) now holds the state record for passing yards with 13,642. That’s more than double Allen’s mark, which barely ranks in the top 70 now.

Lewis also holds the state record for pass attempts with 1,508, and South Laurel’s Ricky Bowling (2005-08) is No. 1 in completions with 947.

Allen isn’t in the top 40 in either category anymore.

And Allen can’t begin to fathom how Lone Oak’s Corey Robinson threw 91 TD passes in 2007. “In one season!” Allen said. “That’s unbelievable!”

Bill Allen finished his career at Morgan County in 1983 as the state’s all-time passing leader with 6,440 yards.

Under coach Bruce Herdman, Morgan County was ahead of the passing curve in the early 1980s. The Cougars employed a shotgun formation that sometimes included four wide receivers.

Herdman had a more-than-capable triggerman in Allen, who came from a family of QBs.

Bill’s dad, Henry Allen, quarterbacked Morgan County more than 65 years ago. Bill’s older brothers, Hank and Perry, were also Cougar QBs. (Both still rank in the top 20 in state history in passing yards per game in a season.)

Generously listed at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds in high school, Bill wasn’t as big as his brothers — “If I’d had their height and size I would’ve been in the NFL,” Bill said with a laugh — but his passing ability and aptitude earned him a scholarship to UK.

“I give (Herdman) a lot of credit for what he allowed us to do,” Allen said. “To play in that kind offense was just awesome.”

Allen thinks high school football today is better than it was when he put on the pads for Morgan County.

 “The size of the players, the speed of the players, the strength of the players, their overall athleticism . . . it’s all so much better now,” he said.

Allen sees it every Friday night while watching Lexington Catholic play. His son Beau is a sophomore QB for the Knights, who over the past couple seasons have played such powerhouses as St. Xavier, Covington Catholic, Johnson Central and Boyle County.

At 6-2, 190 pounds, Beau is already a little bigger than his dad.

“And he’s a better athlete than I was,” Bill said.

Over the past two years Beau has passed for 3,885 yards and 40 TDs, even though LexCath doesn’t always throw the ball a lot.

In last week’s playoff win over Bath County, for example. Beau was 5-for-8 for 155 yards and a TD.

Two weeks ago, though, the Knights had to go to the air more and Beau completed 29 of 39 passes for 362 yards and 5 TDs in a 53-47 overtime loss at Southwestern.

Beau, who won’t turn 16 until January, has shown enough potential that UK has already offered him a scholarship.

“It’s really cool just to think about,” he said. “Kentucky is in a great place right now and doing great things.”

Bill Allen defers to LexCath’s coaches and only occasionally gives his son tips on quarterbacking. They have viewed some old Morgan County game film together, though, to watch Bill in his glory days.

Beau’s scouting report on his dad: “He rolled out a lot more than I thought he would. And I thought he would be a little bit slower than what he was back then.”

Back then Bill Allen was a record-setting passing quarterback. Today he’s president of Bank of the Bluegrass, but he’s still throwing himself into high school football as a father and a fan.

Bill Allen was the Courier-Journal’s first-team All-State quarterback in 1983.


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