Hall mak­ing Allen go

Se­nior RB com­ing off 282-yard ef­fort against Pleas­ant Val­ley

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Keith Groller Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at [email protected]

Allen coach George Clay has been around Ca­naries foot­ball go­ing back to his days as a player in the late 1980s.

He has seen a num­ber of games and can’t re­mem­ber a more im­pres­sive one than the rush­ing ef­fort se­nior Gavoni Hall pro­duced in a 41-14 win over Pleas­ant Val­ley. Hall rushed for 282 yards on 18 car­ries and scored three touch­downs.

Was it a school record?

Clay said he wasn’t sure and planned to keep check­ing it. Re­gard­less of what he finds, Hall’s per­for­mance was one of the best in Allen his­tory and he hopes to add more just like it, start­ing with Friday night’s game at East Strouds­burg North.

“It was re­ally a great ex­pe­ri­ence to get all of those yards, but I have to thank the of­fen­sive line,” Hall said. “They re­ally helped to get me where I’m at right now. When I scored my touch­downs, they were the first guys I high-fived.”

Hall cred­ited Car­los Morales, Ivan Nieves, John­nie Wil­liams, Ricardo Men­des and Trevon Gay­nair as the guys who cre­ated the holes he was happy to go through.

“The of­fen­sive line is a lot bet­ter,” Hall said. “Coach [Mel] Thomas has made a big dif­fer­ence work­ing with the of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive lines.”

Thomas played at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado and spent time in the NFL, in­clud­ing a stint with the Ea­gles. He’s hop­ing these birds can take flight just like the ones in Philly.

The Ca­naries are hop­ing to start a se­cond straight sea­son with a 2-1 record and ex­tend East Strouds­burg North’s los­ing streak to 26 games.

But both Hall and Clay said the Tim­ber­wolves are im­proved de­spite be­ing 0-2 and be­ing outscored 99-6 in losses to Freedom and Strouds­burg.

Allen has not won more than two games in a sea­son since 2005 and is no po­si­tion to over­look any­one.

“Our mind­set is to stay pos­i­tive and just keep work­ing hard,” Hall said. “We want to put our minds only on what­ever we’re do­ing.

“Keep fo­cus­ing on that. Noth­ing but pos­i­tiv­ity.”

Hall, listed at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, said he worked ex­tra in the off­sea­son to pre­pare for this sea­son. Even when the team work­outs were done, he went to Planet Fitness to con­tinue lift­ing weights and run on a tread­mill.

“Gavoni is a great kid,” Clay said. “All of the at­ten­tion he’s get­ting may be mak­ing him ner­vous. He’s the guy who al­ways tries to lift everybody up with a joke. Right now, though, he’s very hum­ble.

“He has worked hard for his suc­cess. It’s not by ac­ci­dent. When he leaves practice, he goes to an­other gym and works on his own.”

Hall ran for 105 yards in the sea­son opener against Em­maus.

The O-line is ex­pe­ri­enced and big. Nieves goes about 400 pounds and gets ex­cited about block­ing op­po­nents.

The whole team is ex­cited about get­ting out of the rut that Allen foot­ball has been in for most of the 2000s.

“They know we started 2-1 last year and didn’t win an­other game,” Clay said. “They heard it over and over again and they want more. It’s all about one week at a time, and they’re push­ing for­ward and try­ing to get bet­ter. I’m ex­cited to see where this sea­son goes.”

He’s also ex­cited to see where Hall goes.

Hall said he moved with his fam­ily from Staten Is­land while he was in mid­dle school. He likes Al­len­town, likes Allen and sees the op­por­tu­ni­ties the school presents.

Asked about his fu­ture, he said he’d love to play in the NFL. His Plan B might include ma­jor­ing in ma­rine bi­ol­ogy at NYU.

Allen be­gan school this week and Hall im­me­di­ately re­ceived plenty of con­grat­u­la­tions and pats on the back from his teach­ers.

“It was a nice feel­ing, but I don’t let it af­fect me,” Hall said. “I am not the type of guy who tells everybody I got this, I got that. I just want to keep work­ing and win­ning games. I want to stay hum­ble.”

“We want to put our minds only on what­ever we’re do­ing. Keep fo­cus­ing on that. Noth­ing but pos­i­tiv­ity.” — Gavoni Hall, Allen run­ning back

RICK KINTZEL/THE MORN­ING CALL

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