Football

Year 2 in Allen’s football revival: Yellow Jackets are older, showing signs of progress

Allen University football team tackles adversity in inaugural season

Allen University head football coach, Ted Keaton, is rebuilding the football program after it was dissolved 13 years ago.
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Allen University head football coach, Ted Keaton, is rebuilding the football program after it was dissolved 13 years ago.

Allen University’s long, hot afternoon dragged on each time its defense replaced the offense following a punt or turnover.

The pattern repeated itself deep into the fourth quarter on a recent Sunday. Less than two minutes remained and Allen was trailing Palmetto Prep, 6-0, at Ridge View High School. It was a preseason scrimmage — a simple tune-up before the Yellow Jackets officially begin Year 2 of their program revival — but how it finished still mattered to the head coach.

So when Noah Shoeman hit Joshua Vaughan for a 56-yard touchdown and the winning extra point was tacked on, Teddy Keaton left the field with a sense of progress.

“Last year’s team, they would have lost it a long time ago,” Keaton said. “When you get in those type of battles, that shows that they fought with resilience. They didn’t lay down, they didn’t quit. They kept fighting and I appreciate that.”

Allen in 2018 was a team with a great story. A roster of freshmen, compiled by Keaton, went 2-6 in the historically black college’s first football season since 2005.

“We won two ballgames when people probably felt we weren’t going to win any,” Keaton said. “So I think it was very successful for a first-year run.”

Allen will look different in its encore presentation. Keaton said he’s added 14 transfers — including the quarterback Shoeman from College of the Desert in California — to have a roster that now includes freshmen, sophomores and juniors.

“I think the transfers and JUCOs that we added to the program helped with the growth development,” Keaton said. “I’m excited about that. I’m trying to establish leaders on the field as well as off the field. There’s some guys that can help in the locker room to keep guys on point about knowing what to do, how to do it and why it’s important for them to do it that way.”

Three Key Players

QB Noah Shoeman: The junior arrives at Allen after throwing for 4,196 yards and 37 touchdowns the previous two seasons for College of the Desert. “Noah is more of a pocket passer,” Keaton said. “But he understands the game. Being a starter for two years on the JUCO level, he understands how fast it is and he knows where to go with the reads.”

DE Richard Hayes: The sophomore from Atlanta was among Allen’s leading tacklers last season.

LB Joseph Moultrie: The sophomore from Timberland High School in St. Stephen led the Yellow Jackets in tackles last season. “I think they have showed a tremendous amount of leadership in camp,” Keaton said of Hayes and Moultrie.

Three Can’t Miss Games

Clark Atlanta, Sept. 14, 1:30 pm: “Clark Atlanta is a game we need to get some redemption on,” Keaton said. “They beat us pretty bad last year, 31-6. We want to come back and we want to show we can play Division II football.”

Edward Waters College, Oct. 12, 6 pm

Columbus State, Oct. 26, 1:30 pm: It’s homecoming for the Jackets.

Schedule

Sept. 7 at Elizabeth City State University, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 Clark Atlanta University, 5 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Livingstone College, 4 p.m.

Sept. 28 Brevard College, 5 p.m.

Oct. 5 Middle Georgia State University, 5 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Edward Waters College, 6 p.m.

Oct. 19 St. Thomas University, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 26 Columbus State, 1:30 p.m.

Nov. 9 at Shorter College, 1 p.m.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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