Allen's football program is winning in at least one way — sending players on to college

Allen's football team was winless, but seven Canaries were successful enough in the classroom to earn college opportunities.

Certainly victories are nice, and they're one way to measure the success of a high school sports program.

But sending kids on to college is another gauge, and using that barometer, Allen High School did quite well in the just-completed 2014-15 school year.

At a ceremony at Sewards Gym last week, the Canaries honored 18 kids who are going to play sports at the next level, including field hockey player Maiyah Brown, who is headed to Temple.

The largest contingent, however, came from football where seven players are going on to the next level. Some might be surprised by that number considering Allen didn't win a game last fall.

However, the seven show that things are going in the right direction.

"We're moving this program forward and this is the first step," coach George Clay said. "Our season's a success when I can send seven kids on to college to extend their football careers."

Clay sent three on to college last year — his first in charge at Allen.

"This is great," Clay said. "If we can get these kids to perform in the classroom, it's going to make them better people. And when they get on the field, it makes my job easier to get them to perform for me."

Three of the Canaries are going to perennial PSAC and Division II football power East Stroudsburg University — wide receiver Julius Henry, all-league tackle Brandon Vigo and center Garek Schleder.

Also moving on are David Luna (Delaware Valley), Courtney Watson (Lycoming), Justice Anderson (Moravian) and Manuel Liriano (Misericordia).

"The kids are buying into what we are telling them," Clay said. "You're always going to have those couple who won't, but a majority of the kids realize that in order to move forward it starts in the classroom. And what's nice is that this senior group is already telling the underclassmen to 'not screw up' and work hard. A lot of them had to push to make it this year.

"We want the kids to keep coming back after they've done well to tell everybody that you can succeed in college coming from Allen High School. It's doable, don't let anybody tell you that it's not."

Looking ahead to the 2014 season, Clay said he lost 16 seniors, but added "our up-and-coming classes are doing great."

Clay said 30 to 35 kids have been in the weight room regularly.

"Before we had 10 to 15 kids in the weight room, so we're really doing a lot better and the kids in there are getting bigger and stronger," he said.

Allen's season, like everyone else in the new Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, starts with a cross-division game, against Northampton, which will again play its home games at Nazareth. That one is set for Saturday, Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, the Temple field hockey season begins even earlier with an Aug. 23 date against Villanova.

Brown, a two-time Lehigh Valley Conference all-star, can't wait to get to Philadelphia.

"I chose Temple because it's in the city and there's lots to do down there," she said. "Plus, the coaches and players were very welcoming. They made it seem like it's a family. It's also a nationally ranked program, ranked 17th in the country."

Brown, who scored 36 goals and had 22 assists in her high school career, was chosen to the U.S. Field Hockey Women's Indoor Squad.

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