The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® has never been satisfied with mere sports “figures” to serve as its Sports Marshal. The Festival has always selected “legends,” invariably with Hall of Fame credentials, to serve in that capacity. And, to add a bit of local flavor [or, angst] to this year’s choice, according to his Wikipedia biography, the Festival’s legendary 2015 Sports Marshal “may be best remembered for his heroics in Super Bowl XVIII, where, on January 22nd, 1984, he ran for 191 yards, caught two passes for 18 yards, and scored two touchdowns in the Oakland Raiders 38-9 victory over the Washington Redskins.” It is with great pride that Festival President, Jim Douglas, announces that football great, Marcus Allen, Heisman Trophy Winner, NFL MVP, and NFL Hall of Famer, will serve as the 2015 Festival Sports Marshal; and, will be the Featured Speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast presented by Grange Insurance.
Marcus LeMarr Allen was born on March 26th, 1960, in San Diego, California. After high school ball, he moved on to play collegiately for legendary Head Coach, John Robinson, at the University of Southern California. Recruited as a defensive back, Robinson switched Marcus to tailback, where he spent his first season at USC as a backup to Heisman Trophy winner, Charles White. After a move to fullback, eventually, in 1980, Allen became the starter at tailback, and rushed for 1,563 yards, the third-most in the nation that year (behind two more legends: George Rogers and Herschel Walker). In 1981, Allen had one of the most spectacular seasons in NCAA history, rushing for 2,342 yards; becoming the first player in NCAA history to rush for over 2,000 yards in one season. He also gained a total of 2,683 offensive yards, led the nation in scoring, and won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award. Allen finished his four college seasons with 4,669 rushing yards, 5,232 total yards, and 46 touchdowns, while averaging 5.2 yards per carry. USC has retired his jersey number (33), and Coach John Robinson has called Allen, “The greatest player I ever saw.”
Allen was drafted with the 10th overall selection of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. During his strike-shortened rookie season, Allen rushed for 697 yards and led the Raiders to the best record in the AFC at 8-1. He was voted the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The next season, Allen broke the 1,000-yard mark for the first time, was the MVP of the aforementioned 1983 Super Bowl, and continued to prosper in Oakland thereafter, despite a stormy relationship with controversial owner, Al Davis. During the 1985 Season, he rushed for 1,759 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, leading the Raiders to a 12-4 record and the AFC West Division Championship, and winning the NFL MVP Award. Allen eventually left the Raiders and joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993. He rushed for 764 yards that year and scored 12 touchdowns as he and Joe Montana led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game. Allen was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Allen retired after the 1997 Season. He was the first player ever to gain more than 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards during a career. Allen is considered one of the greatest goal line and short-yard runners in NFL history, and was elected to six Pro Bowls. In 1999, he was ranked 72nd on “The Sporting News” list of the 100 Greatest Football Players; and, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Festival acknowledges these additional Sponsors of the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast, presented by Grange Insurance [and, held at the Winchester Moose Lodge, at 8:00am, on Saturday, May 2nd]: Collaborative Resources, Dunkin’ Donuts, Handy Mart, NewsTalk 1400 WINC, and Sports Radio 1450 AM.