By LARRY VAUGHT
As soon as he glanced at the list of former Paul Hornung Award winners, Lexington Catholic quarterback Beau Allen understood just what it meant to now has his name on the list.
“I knew all of the former winners, or knew of them. It’s great to have my name up there with them,” said Allen.
The Louisville Quarterback Club picked Allen as the 27th annual winner of the award named for Louisville native and Flaget High School star Paul Hornung who went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame and the NFL MVP with the Green Bay Packers. Allen will be honored Dec. 17 at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville.
Western Hills star Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska) won the award last year after. Before that it was Trinity’s Rondale Moore (Purdue), Lafayette’s Walker Wood (Kentucky), Paintsville’s Kash Daniel (Kentucky) and Madison Southern’s Damien Harris (Alabama, NFL).
“It is incredible for him and his family for him to win this award and is a great honor for our program,” Lexington Catholic coach Nigel Smith said. “It really sends a message to a lot of different individuals that playing at Lexington Catholic can take you a long way.
“For Beau the sky is the limit. I don’t think there is anything he can’t do and the more you tell him he can’t do something, the more determined he is to succeed and will succeed.”
Allen had a monster senior season for the Knights throwing for 3,683 yards and 38 touchdowns with only eight interceptions in 366 pass attempts. He also led his team in rushing with 478 yards and 12 scores. As a junior he was 233 of 357 passing for 3,729 yards and 42 touchdowns with just nine picks.
He finished his career with 11,439 yards passing and 127 touchdowns — both fifth all-time in Kentucky. By comparison, that’s just six fewer touchdown passes than Tim Couch, a former No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and former Hornung Award winner, threw for Leslie County.
“I did know that (about Couch),” Allen laughed and said. “At the end of our season, I looked back and will probably always wish I had done a little bit more.”
There’s not much more that Allen could have done and the Hornung Award voters noticed. Catholic played a strong schedule and yet Allen normally kept the Knights in the game.
“Winning this award means the world to me. I have had this award as a goal and dream for me and I have always admired people who have won this award,” Allen said.
“It’s just great company to be a part of and I am so blessed and thankful to be part of it. There are so many great players across the state in every part of Kentucky this year and knowing that that does make it even a lot more special to be the Hornung winner.”
Frederick Douglas coach Brian Landis saw plenty of Allen late in the season when he completed 28 of 44 passes for 286 yards and one score. He threw for a touchdown and ran for another one in Douglas’ 42-31 win. If those numbers don’t impress you, consider that Douglas has given up just 36 points in 12 other games and has shut out eight teams.
“I was telling (Kentucky) coach (Mark) Stoops about his ability to move in the pocket, and how it was elite,” Landis said. “He does a great job of getting out of trouble, feeling pressure and avoiding pressure while keeping his eyes down field.
“He is sneaky fast as well. He is deceiving. Faster than he looks. Made a few big first downs with his legs against us. He’s a tough kid. We got after him pretty good, put him on the ground, but he never got rattled.
“It was impressive. He’s not the kind of kid that is going to get gun shy after taking a lick.”
Boyle County coach Chuck Smith spent eight years on the coaching staff at UK under Rich Brooks and Joker Phillips. He’s coached against Allen six times in the last three years.
“I think he is a really good player,” Smith said. “He stays in the pocket and delivers the ball really well. He’s not afraid to take a hit as he delivers the ball and I really think he has got better every year we have played him. He throws a good ball and he’s not afraid to run the ball. He won’t run that much in college where all those guys are so fast, but he’s intelligent and adapts well to any situation he gets put in.”
Here’s a list of the previous Hornung Award winners.
2018 — Wan’Dale Robinson, Western Hills
2017 — Rondale Moore, Trinity.
2 016 — Walker Wood, Lafayette.
2 015 — Kash Daniel, Paintsville.
2 014 — Damien Harris, Madison Southern.
2013 — Matt Elam, John Hardin.
2 012 — James Quick, Trinity.
2011 — Patrick Towles, Highlands.
2010 — DeVante Parker, Ballard, and Lamar Dawson, Boyle County.
2 009 — Austin Collinsworth, Highlands.
2008 — Rolandan “Deuce” Finch, St. Xavier.
2007 — Sam Robey, Trinity, and David Ulinski, Manual.
2006 — Doug Beaumont, Male.
2005 — Micah Johnson, Fort Campbell.
2 004 — Curtis Pulley, Hopkinsville.
2003 — Brian Brohm, Trinity.
2002 — Michael Bush, Male, and Brian Brohm, Trinity.
2001 — Michael Bush, Male.
2000 — Montrell Jones, Male.
1999 — Montrell Jones, Male .
1998 — Derek Smith, .Highlands.
1997 — Dennis Johnson, Harrodsburg.
1996 — Tony Driver, Male.
1995 — Tim Couch, Leslie County.
1994 — Chris Redman, Male.
1993 — Shaun Alexander, Boone County.