Sports

Wolves’ Allison ready to roll

South Kitsap running back Sean Allison avoided surgery for a back injury he suffered this summer and is playing well early in the season. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
South Kitsap running back Sean Allison avoided surgery for a back injury he suffered this summer and is playing well early in the season.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

A mundane evening in the living room almost ended Sean Allison’s football career.

Four years ago, South Kitsap senior Sean Allison said he was on the floor watching TV when his sister jumped on his back.

The Wolves’ starting running back sustained an injury to a bone in his lower back that he said remained problematic despite treatment. But he persevered until the constant head-on collisions players encounter during practice and games made it too uncomfortable to play in 2006 during the team’s summer camp at Eastern Washington University.

Allison said some questioned whether he would play again, but he decided to rest and go through physical therapy instead of having surgery.

“The doctors got me back,” he said. “I’m ready to roll.”

It wasn’t always that simple.

“Last year, I was kind of timid because when someone says you won’t be able to play, it kind of gets into your head that maybe you’re still hurt,” he said. “But it doesn’t feel bad. I’m 100 percent.”

South has a long tradition of successful running backs.

Ryan Cole played at Oregon State and Eastern Washington. Roger Cooper headed to Montana State. Stephen Tucker is at Eastern Washington.

Allison said carrying the tradition is “a lot on your back,” but unlike many of his predecessors, who took 30 handoffs a game, he shares the position with fellow senior Ryan Williams.

Coach D.J. Sigurdson said he made that move before the year because both linebackers are skilled runners and among the team’s best defensive players.

Sigurdson said Allison has an “upbeat attitude” and is willing to take on whatever task the coaches assign him. But that’s not the only reason why he’s successful.

“Probably the thing we overlook sometimes is he’s really smart,” Sigurdson said. “He’s not only book smart — he has great football aptitude. If we throw in a little nuance here and there, he can handle it.”

As with many running backs, Allison credits the offensive line for making him successful by opening holes. And once he reaches that point, Sigurdson said big yardage often follows.

“If the first guy doesn’t get him, he breaks a lot of tackles because he’s strong,” he said.

After all, there’s a reason why, come track and field season, Allison is one of the top javelin throwers in the state. Just don’t ask him about his career — he offers that he might open a sporting-goods store — or college plans. With his previous health problems, Allison knows that he easily could be sitting in the stands wearing face paint instead of green grass stains on his pants.

As clichéd as it sounds, it really is just one game at a time for Allison.

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