At 5-foot-8 inches, 140 pounds, Lawrence High senior Blake Allen never considered himself football material.
But Allen, who never had played football until this fall, has become a versatile contributor for the Lions with two games left in the regular season.
"It's very surprising," said Blake, a wide receiver/cornerback/place-kicker for the Lions. "I've always wanted to play football, but I've been pretty small. My friends gave me a lot of encouragement."
LHS football coach Dirk Wedd also leaned on Allen and urged him to join fellow Lions at the summer 7-on-7 league.
"Lo and behold, he catches a ball immediately," Wedd said. "He kind of liked it and came more often."
Through baseball and basketball, Allen caught Wedd's eye.
"What I liked about Blake was he was a hard-nosed kid in basketball, and in baseball whenever I asked him to do something he didn't question it," said Wedd, who was the LHS baseball coach for three years. "He just did it the best he could, whether it was in the outfield or infield."
Before committing to the Lions, Allen had to sell the idea to his father and mother.
His dad, Mick, was easier to sell than his mother, Lynda. Mick was a senior quarterback for the Lions in 1965.
"I know my dad was all for it," Allen said. "My mom was a little afraid for my safety. She was convinced when coach Wedd gave her a speech."
Allen made an immediate impact for LHS. In his debut, he kicked a 25-yard field goal on his first attempt against Shawnee Mission North and LHS won, 17-11.
For the season, Allen is 12-for-14 on PATs with the one field goal. As a receiver, Allen has eight receptions for 107 yards and two TDs.
Wedd was unaware of Allen's kicking potential until preseason practices.
"We had open tryouts for PATs and field goals," Wedd said. "He acted like he'd been doing it since birth."
Allen said he hadn't been working secretly on his kicking.
"I've always wanted to kick," Allen said. "They had open tryouts and I did well."
LHS (2-5) will play Leavenworth (2-5) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Haskell Stadium in the second round of a Class 6A district.
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org