When Silver Bluff High School football coach Al Lown needs leaders on the field this fall, Bradley Allen will be one of the players he calls on.
"He's an outstanding young man," said Lown. "He's a very hard worker."
Bradley, a junior, plays linebacker for the Bulldogs and last year was one of the team's leading tacklers, bringing down more than 100 opponents.
Football, he said, is a good outlet for the stresses of school.
"After a long day, you get to take everything out (on the football field)," he said.
Bradley started playing football when he was about 10 years old and has always played defense.
In the sixth grade, Bradley coped with a dilemma that led him to another athletic endeavor.
"In sixth grade, I couldn't play for the school and I was too old for recreation football," he said.
So he decided to try out another sport, and he's been playing soccer ever since.
"It's the most popular game in the world and it's fun to play. I love it," he said.
The recent spring season was satisfying, he said.
"We won the region for the first time in school history," said Bradley, who is a defender on the soccer field as well. Despite his defensive mode, he scored his first goal since his freshman year.
Although he enjoys soccer, football is his favorite sport, he said.
Over the summer, Bradley plans to work on his football skills to be ready for the season. One of his main goals next season is to "beat Central," he said.
Central of Pageland has defeated the Bulldogs in the playoffs for two straight years.
In November, the Central Eagles beat the Bulldogs on their home turf 26-7 in the second round of the Class AA playoffs. In the second round of the playoffs in 2006, the Eagles won 14-6.
Bradley said a key to Silver Bluff winning next year is teamwork.
"We've got to get better about being a team," he said.
Reach Charmain Brackett at email@example.com.