Lake Norman & Mooresville

Duo finding right mix on the field for SouthLake Christian

Somewhere near the beginning of each practice, SouthLake Christian quarterback Randy Schroeder and wide receiver Demetri Allison do a drill called "the perfect pass."

In that drill, Schroeder tries to hit Allison in perfect stride on whatever route he is running.

In turn, Allison looks to run the perfect route so his quarterback's timing and placement are just right.

While SouthLake Christian head coach Rich Landis and offensive coordinator Geoff O'Donnell assess every throw and catch, Schroeder and Allison work tirelessly to make their practice into a successful Friday night reality.

"It's definitely hard to be perfect on every pass, but that is the goal of that drill," said Landis. "Because they do it every practice, full-speed so many times, it has become second nature to them. You can see it translate into the games."

While the juniors haven't been perfect, for most of the season they have been very good, as Schroeder, a first-year starter, has thrown for 1,235 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first seven starts, while Allison has caught 33 passes for 706 yards and 12 scores.

Schroeder and Allison, who are both on school-record-setting paces, are doing all of this in their first season together on the SouthLake roster.

Schroeder, 17, enrolled at SouthLake Christian this year after being home-schooled through the rest of his school career. Schroeder did play football for the Lake Norman Storm in the eight-player Pioneer League.

"I was definitely a little nervous at first, coming onto a team like SouthLake," said Schroeder.

Allison, 17, who is in his fourth year as an Eagle, including his third on the varsity football team, became one of his closest friends. After learning from SouthLake Christian standouts like Travis Hallman, Allison knew this year would his time to shine.

"I knew coming into this year that I was going to be the top receiver," said Allison. "But I didn't know for sure who our quarterback would be, so I didn't know what to expect."

After Schroeder beat out senior Kendal Goodwin for the starting quarterback job, he went to work with his new favorite target.

Allison and Schroeder had an immediate connection. They have worked before and after practice and even weekends, throwing, catching and running routes, to perfect everything that goes into the passing game. They also have nearly every class together.

"Demetri and Randy have become good friends in a short period of time," said Landis. "You can tell that their friendship off the field really helps their success on the football field."

Schroeder and Allison have been a big part of an offense that is averaging 38 points per game, as the Eagles are off to their best start in school history, at 6-1 overall before Oct. 14's game against Georgia's Rabun Gap-Nacoochee.

Allison has had his best efforts in the last month - eight catches for 151 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Asheville School and four touchdowns in a victory over High Point Christian.

In the High Point game, he also had two receiving touchdowns, an interception for a score and an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Schroeder has been on the other end of most of his scores, throwing for 10 of his 16 touchdowns in the last four games.

The duo's success depends on trust and hard work. Schroeder often throws the ball high in traffic or near the end zone, knowing his receiver will likely come down with the ball.

"I've seen him go up in a crowd and make a big catch so many times now, I expect him to do it every time," Schroeder said.

Allison says the two often talk about what they are going to do right before a play, and they also use hand signals to communicate.

They now hope to shine in the last two weeks of the regular season, before going into the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association's 2A playoffs.

Allison and Schroeder also hope their efforts help propel them get noticed by colleges.

But for now, they are focused on making the most of this season.

"Everybody's mind is on winning states right now," Allison said. "But first, we have to focus on finishing the regular season strong and getting a good seed. Right now, that is all we care about."