The Press Newspaper
Genoa junior wide receiver Derek Allgier may not as of yet reached rock star
status as the starting split end for the 8-0 (4-0, Suburban Lakes League) Genoa football team.
But ever since a 7-on-7 program with veteran All-SLL signal caller Matt Bassitt last summer, Allgier has been making noise towards the Comets' third-straight playoff run. Allgiers has 26 catches for 309 yards and five touchdowns and is being compared to 2008 record-setting senior receiver Zach Apel.
Because of his and other efforts, Genoa's offense leads the region this season with 426 total points going into week nine against Otsego, and the season looks eerily similar as last year.
"That was pretty cool last year, because coming in, we all knew up to that point Zach had never played organized football before. He was this outstanding soccer player. He was good at basketball. And he's phenomenal at baseball, and always has been, but he'd never really played football," lauds Alliger, a 17-year-old former freshman QB."But when Zach came in, he just went by the numbers, and I think the thing that still stands out to me the most about Zach last year was our scrimmage at Northwood against Waite and the Rangers. The first play of the game, we ran a fade down the right sideline, and he caught it, with the cornerback like 15 yards behind him. It was right then and there that I thought to myself, ‘Wow, he's good. He's got great speed, and great hands. He's really, really good.’ And as a first-year player coming in then, I don't think things could've been any better for Zack," Allgiers continued.
"This year on our team, we have two very different styles when it comes to our receiving corps," dissects Derek, who came up under the tough tutelage of the architect of Genoa’s Little Comets football program, Bob Allgier.
"And those styles start with Connor (Wendt), who is our speedster at the position like Zach was and who is just a hard, hard worker. Connor comes off the ball super-fast and hard, he's physical with everybody out there, and he's just a dangerous playmaker, as everyone knows from his touchdown catch against Port Clinton, which will probably go down as the ‘play-of-the-year’ for us on our highlight film."
“We have some nice size and height in senior Jon Lester (6-3, 200 pounds), who is quick and who is always going to fight for some nice, tough yards after the catch for you," continues Allgiers, "and I think with me, it's kind of the same.
“Sure, there's definitely a height difference between me and Jon, and I wouldn't ever say I'm even close to being the best wide receiver around. But I guess I'm more like a possession receiver for this offense, and I can make plays. This team can depend on me to do my job. But I'm not the only guy Matt can throw the football to. In those games when I don't get a pass thrown my way, and I get shut out of the end zone, I don't get mad. I don't want to be a selfish player. I'm just happy when we get the win. That's what this team's goal is. That's what football is all about."
Despite Allgier’s roughly 4.7 40 speed, he has a fearlessness for going over the middle into "no-man's land.
For instance, on a windy evening in late August against Rossford, Allgier hauled in his first varsity touchdown reception on an eight-yard flag pattern from Bassitt to start the Genoa scoring party off in the second quarter. DA also nailed down a spot at the varsity table that night.
In games two and three against longtime "Celestial Bowl" rivals the Oak Harbor Rockets and a resurgent Port Clinton team, Allgier took it to the house on a pretty 21-yard hook-up from Bassitt to finish with six catches, and 89 yards receiving in the former, and yet another eight-yarder in the latter.
As of now, both of which were outputs that currently have No. 24 sitting comfortably somewhere around No. 5 in the SLL receiving race, with 309 yards through the air and average of 11.9 yards per catch.
In game seven, against visiting Gibsonburg, and once again in a driving rain, he caught and ran for 66 yards in the soggy muck, which quickly becoming known as "Derek Allgier weathe,”, and two touchdowns. The second TD came on a slightly-underthrown lob-type ball from Bassitt in the corner of the end zone, which Allgier had to adjust to in mid-air, catching the ball while in the arms of the defender. That earned the young playmaker "WRSCradio.com. 'Taco Bell Offensive Player of the Game'" accolades for the first time in his career.
He has appeared on WRSC's "Comet Coach's Corner" radio show, hosted by Ray'z Cafe in downtown Genoa every Sunday night from 7-8 by myself and Rick Waldron,
While there, Coach Mike Vicars calls DA out via such phrases as "a great kid," and "high character," and "handles criticism very well," and had this to say about his team's second-leading receiver, "DA isn't as fast as Apel, but he is more disciplined and has more "football" experience. He is in his own right darn good. You know he'll give you everything he has."
Yet, despite all of these accomplishments, Allgier remains humble, as demonstrated in his relationship with Bassitt’s other receivers.
"Jon and I, were very close. Everybody on the receiving corps is very close. We always text one another after, and keep each other up during games, and I'll say, ‘Jon, good game.’
“And he'll shoot back, ‘Thanks. But I don't think I played very well.’
“But we're always taking care of one another. We're always helping one another out, so we can get better as a group, and better as a team. We're a close-knit group," said DA, on the solidarity between himself, Lester, Wendt, senior tight-end Richard Wonnell, and Garret Scott.
"It was really kind of the same last year with Zach, too," he continues. "I mean, I helped him out a little, too, because coming over from soccer, we had to switch all the route names to numbers, and he didn't know what a flag route was, or a post. But then he helped me with some moves after the catch and stuff, and just watching him perform last year was amazing. I think watching Zach has helped make my transition from JV to varsity a lot smoother."
Apel, now graduated, is amazed, too, at how well this season has gone.
"I think it's great that we haven't become one-dimensional, and that Genoa still has a receiver that is dependable, and who is a scoring threat," counters Apel. "Derek is a great athlete. And I think he's only going to keep getting better and better."