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Fresh face brings renewed energy, spirit to CK football

Christ the King has high hopes under new Coach Tyree Allison. Photo by Denis Gostev
TimesLedger Newspapers

Christ the King’s football players eased up, thinking Day 2 of practice was over.

Big mistake.

New Coach Tyree Allison wasn’t happy with the way a few players finished up their springs.

“Again,” he barked.

This time, nobody broke into a jog. As they gathered together, not everyone got on their knee — one player sat down.

Another mistake.

“Get up,” the new Royals coach yelled. “We’re running again.”

A few players got on the teammate who extended practice.

Even bigger mistake.

“This is a valuable lesson,” he seethed. “Don’t blame the other guy — pick him up.”

Such is life in Middle Village, where Allison is the new sheriff, a demanding former NFL player who is attempting to resuscitate a dormant program previously run by Chris Higgins. The CK math teacher and former Hofstra star is trying to do so by remaking the program his way, holding players accountable for themselves and each other.

The team motto is “TBA” — trust, believe and accountability.

“The main thing is to get them mentally tough, get them to buy into the system,” said Allison, 35, who has coached as an assistant coach at C.W. Post and Stony Brook on the collegiate level and at Long Island high schools West Hempstead and West Islip. “What I want these guys to realize is this is serious. We don’t want to be the joke of the conference. We have to do things right.”

The players have bought in. They responded to Allison with, “Yes, coach” and met all of his strict off-season weightlifting and training requirements, which Buffalo-bound running back James Coleman described as “college rules.” The senior tailback, who was third in the CHSFL AA-A in total offense with 2,108 yards to go along with 20 total touchdowns a year ago, said the overall feel at practice is different because of Allison. Every detail is harped upon, and the players don’t mind because they know he’s in their corner.

“If he’s not out here teaching, he’s in his office working on schemes or calling a college coach about a kid,” receiver/tight end Jordan Fuchs said. “He’s always doing something for us. He knows how to get people motivated, he knows what to say and he’s very intense.”

Coleman said, “It’s a big difference. Players connect with him. We see him as an idol, he knows what it takes.”

Allison does have a lot of talent to work with, starting with Coleman and Fuchs, who is drawing tons of high-major interest from the likes of Rutgers, Connecticut, USC, Ohio State and Michigan after catching nine touchdowns last fall.

Quarterback Matt Gluick is back after missing plenty of time last fall due to injury. If the offensive line, led by senior offensive tackles Terrence Brown and Chris Banner and sophomore center Rashawn Williams, can give him time, Allison expects the Royals to ring up plenty of points.

“The sky’s the limit for these guys if they continue to take football serious,” Allison said.

Coleman will anchor the Christ the King defense at secondary, while Brown, Williams and Banner will all be counted on up front and returning starters Josh Seaford, who led the division in tackles last season, and Frankie Dimaiolo will anchor the linebacker corps. Allison is high on Fuchs and Coleman’s basketball teammate, Thomas Holley, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle new to the sport.

“He’s definitely going to be a Division I prospect,” Allison said. “UConn and Rutgers like him. He’s the strongest kid on the team.”

One of Allison’s first moves had nothing to do with discipline or accountability. He posted the team’s ranking — 19 out of 20 teams — for all his players to see. That sparked the Royals’ inspired offseason training regimen and has them chomping at the bit to get the season going against Nazareth Sept. 8.

“It’s no respect for any of us,” Coleman said. “I took that personally. We have big-time players here. We’re trying to go to the ‘AA’ championship [game].”

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