Allen kicks his way to an indoor football title | Sports coverage for Fenton, Linden, Holly and Lake
Games News

Allen kicks his way to an indoor football title | Sports coverage for Fenton, Linden, Holly and Lake

 Jimmy Allen had a year to remember the play.

 The Fenton native and 2010 graduate, was a member of the Salina Liberty Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league, and his squad was in the championship game against the Omaha Beef at Salina’s Tony’s Pizza Event Center.

 Allen had a chance to kick the game-winning 23-yard field goal, but the kick was blocked. Salina lost the title game, 40-39.

 But, a year later, Allen had his revenge. Playing the same team in the same championship contest at the same venue, Allen and his Liberty teammates smelled sweet success when they became CIF champions against the Omaha Beef 38-34. In the contest, Allen scored six points, making a 29-yard field goal and converting 3-of-4 of his extra-point attempts, an attempt that must go through a 10-foot wide field goal posts.

 “We lost in the championship on a blocked field goal. My kick was blocked on the last play of the game,” Allen said. “I relived that play at least once a day until we got our revenge.

 “It was amazing. I don’t know if I officially have felt it yet. I have been chasing this for nine years and I don’t know if I’ve completely realized it yet. I can’t explain it. You work so hard for something, and to do it, finally. You just know all of your hard work has finally paid off. It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”

 Allen’s story is one of passion and persistence. He loves football, and loves kicking, and for nine years he’s figured a way to make it his life by playing for professional indoor football teams like Salina. He’s kicked for teams in Port Huron, Buffalo, West Michigan, Iowa, Bismark, Corpus Christi and Penn. Most of those teams were professional teams that were struggling in the win-loss ledger and in terms of franchise survival, but through it all Allen kept moving forward.

 His big break, ironically, came one day when his team, the Bismark Bucks, cut him so they could sign a local player at a cheaper salary. The prior week his squad played Salina.

 “A couple of weeks passed by and they said they liked what they saw during the game we played against them, and they wanted to pick me up,” Allen said.

 While he always landed on his feet and found a team, Allen finally had an established home in the small city in Kansas. He finished the 2018 season by nailing 28 extra-points and two field goals, and has been the team’s starting kicker ever since. In 2019, he made 12 field goals, including a 52-yarder. He also converted 55 extra-points. The 2020 season was canceled due to COVID, but Allen responded with his best season yet in 2021. He made 8-of-16 field goals and converted 68-of-78 extra points — quite the feat considering the limited width of the field goal posts — as Salina finished the regular season in first place. Allen was rewarded as the CIF’s Kicker of the Year.

 “Once I got down there, it felt like home,” Allen said. “The coaching staff is the best I’ve played for.

 “It’s a small type of community and there are no other pro teams in the area. We are the only show in town in the spring.”

 It was a tough road to getting that first team championship with one of his teams.

 “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been at this for nine years now, and before I cam to Salina, I hadn’t been part of a winning organization at all,” Allen said.

 His championship season didn’t come without its own pains. Allen suffered a quad injury early in the season, forcing him to six weeks. The squad was 4-3 when he came back. But the Liberty’s fortunes turned when Allen returned, as the squad won its final three games, finished 7-3 and qualified for the playoffs. Allen kicked two field goals and converted five extra-points in a 38-30 victory against the Sioux City Bandits. A week later, he converted eight extra-points in a 62-26 victory against the Topeka Storm. During the final regular season week, he kicked a field goal and three extra-points in a 36-13 victory against the Southwest Kansas Storm.

 In the opening round of the playoffs, the team had a tight defensive 26-14 victory against Billings. In that game Allen made two extra-points. That was followed by the 38-34 victory in the title game against Omaha.

 “It was a tough season,” Allen said. “I spent five games trying to get back into the motions again, get in the grove and get my timing again. It was a challenging season. I didn’t have much time to enjoy it.”

 In indoor football, no team punts. All kicks are field goal attempts that can be kickoff returns if they land in the field of play. The field is just 50 yards long and the width is about the size of a hockey arena.

 Allen is one of the older veterans on his squad, but he still has plenty of fight in him to earn a starting position. Next spring he’ll have to compete to keep his job.

 “That’s the goal. I have to compete for my job, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Allen said. “I’m one of the older guys on the team. The announcers call me the old man. Every time I walk on the field, I walk like an old man.”

 So how long will Allen keep trying to play?

 “I get that question every day and I don’t have the answer,” Allen said. “If I’m being honest, I don’t have an answer. As long as my body holds up, I’ll probably still want to play.”