Thursday, August 29, 2013

Prep football: Allison is Palmetto's new QB, Tuten has left the team

Another year, another starting quarterback at Palmetto.
This time it is sophomore Jack Allison, who will be under center 7:30 p.m. Friday when the Tigers host Venice in their regular-season opener.
Allison beat out incumbent Chris Tuten for the job.
"He throws a catchable ball and is just a little bit more accurate," Tigers head coach Dave Marino said Thursday. "He's got composure in the pocket; he can move out of the pocket and still keep his eyes downfield. There's just intangibles, those quarterback skills. Tute had the experience, but the longer it progressed, Jack was getting a better understanding and a feel for our offense. And Tute was just sort of stagnant - he really hadn't improved much, he was still making similar mistakes he was making last season."
Allison is the third starting quarterback in as many seasons for the Tigers, beginning with Trenton Miller in 2011. A transplant from Buffalo, Miller helped lead Palmetto to its first state semifinal appearance in 25 years.
Spencer Atkins was supposed to take over the role last season, but the senior got hurt in Palmetto's season-opener against Riverview and gave way to Tuten, who steered Palmetto to a 9-3 record and a Class 5A playoff berth.
When Atkins was healthy, he switched to linebacker.
Now it's Allison's turn. And unlike Miller and Atkins, who were seniors, Allison will be with the team for two more seasons, injecting a dose of stability into one of the most important positions on the field.
"If you're going to be consistent, you're going to have to do it the same day in and day out," Marino said. "We felt like making this move now was the time...It will give him a few weeks before our district play starts. We just felt like we had to make a decision, we couldn't let this linger on any further."
With Allison now the starter, Tuten decided to leave the team, Marino said.
"It's disappointing," Marino said. "I thought he would have battled, because we told him - 'Hey, if Jack's not ready for varsity football, then we'll go with you because we know what you can do for us and your experience.' And he chose to back away from that challenge as opposed to accepting it. It was disappointing he reacted to the challenge that way."
Speaking of challenges, Palmetto's schedule offers plenty. The Tigers' first two opponents, Venice and St. Petersburg Lakewood, were a combined 18-6 last season. And their Week 3 opponent, Clearwater Countryside, was 4-6 - but forfeited six games for using an ineligible player.
"We're right out of the gates with three tough ones in a row, and it's going to be a test of our character," Marino said, "and how bad we want it and how passionate we are, and are we going to endure through this and grow with each experience."

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