By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — Pop. Pop. Pop.
That’s what Devon Allen felt in his left ankle after being tackled on the first play of the game in last week’s preseason game against Victory Christian.
Allen, North Port’s starting quarterback, ran a designed draw play, and gained four yards to begin the opening possession.
“I got hit from one side, and then I got hit from the other,” Allen said. “The first guy was still on my ankle, and I kind of just bent over him.”
That’s when he felt the three rapid pops in his left ankle.
It’s something no athlete ever wants to feel, but Allen managed to get right up and walk to the sidelines. He was in pain, but he was pretty sure it wasn’t broken because he was able to walk.
He was right.
There’s no break, no fracture, and no tear in Allen’s left ankle, but the soreness will keep him out for today’s game against Cypress Lake.
“Injuries are part of the game. We just take the attitude that we’re going to deal with them when they come, and we need to have somebody ready to go in and perform,” Bobcats’ coach Brian Hatler said. “And hopefully it’s not a serious situation so they can get back in.”
But Hatler couldn’t have imagined after a long summer of preparations, his starting quarterback would go down in not only the preseason game, but on the first snap of the night.
They now had two different quarterbacks for the first two plays of the game, as Skylar Razwilavich took over. Razwilavich and Allen split time under center last year, but that wasn’t necessarily the plan for this year.
“I expected to be playing slot receiver. That’s where I’ve been practicing all summer,” Razwilavich said. “The plot twist happened first play of the game. Where ever they want to put me is where I want to play.”
The junior is a do-everything type of player. He can play a variety of positions, which is an advantage for the Bobcats. It does, however, have a down side.
“Skylar is a big utility player for us,” Hatler said. “So when (Devon) goes down, it’s not just one position that needs to be filled (to replace Skylar). It creates a domino effect a little bit. We just have to move people around and go out and play football.”
Razwilavich and newcomer Travis Cook have been taking snaps at quarterback this week, although the weather hasn’t been cooperating the way they would’ve liked.
Even with limited time on the field to prepare, they’ll still be ready.