Buddies with speed to burn

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

A debate is raging on one of the Kansas State internet fan message boards: Who is the fastest Wildcat of all-time?

Both David Allen and Aaron Lockett are on the short list because of their record-setting college careers returning kicks.

The two meet tonight when Allen's Calgary Stampeders host Lockett's B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., TSN).

"It's not really me against him but our teams are playing," said Allen, the Stamps' running back and kick returner. "We want to do things to give our teams the victory."

Allen, who has missed four games with a knee injury, returns just in time to meet his old pal for the first time as an opponent.

The two played three seasons together with the Wildcats from 1998-2000 as Allen set the standard for punt returns while Lockett was the kick returner.

"Over the past five or six years, we've kept in touch," said Lockett. "It's amazing we are still playing professional football and now get to play against each other."

They were a deadly combination as teammates. Allen rewrote the school record book at K-State, setting the season mark for punt-return yardage (730), touchdowns (four) and consecutive games with a score (three).

He still holds the marks for career yardage, touchdowns and average but opened the door for Lockett in 2000.

An early-season ankle injury kept Allen from playing his senior year, so Lockett took over punt return duty and broke Allen's single-season mark for average.

"We had great times there and we were one of the few teams who would win 11 games a year," said Lockett. "We were fortunate to go in there and make things happen.

"Because of that, through our pro careers, we've both made our marks as returners."

During their tenures at K-State, head coach Bill Snyder made special-teams work an important part of practice. The entire team contributed to surrounding the returner and giving him a chance to run, which doesn't always happen in the American game because of the fair-catch rule.

"I felt pretty invincible then," Allen said "It seemed every time we set up the return, we got big yardage.

"Once I got comfortable doing it, I became somewhat fearless. I could have taken a fair catch a few times but I wouldn't and sometimes would make yardage of it."

Lockett was the first to arrive in the CFL, joining the Lions before the 2004 season. Last year, he led the league in kickoff return yardage and was third in punts.


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