Salute to Larry Allen & Taylor Dockins

Larry Allen is shown during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. Taylor Dockins is shown during a game in 2017 season. Photos: NFL & Patrick Takkinen / SoCalSidelines.

Two of the most inspirational athletes we’ve ever written about in the 45 plus years of Cal-Hi Sports both passed away earlier this week on the same day.

If the all-time great NFL lineman Larry Allen ever met 2017 Ms. Softball State Player of the Year Taylor Dockins, he could probably lift two Taylors on one arm and two Taylors on the other. Allen was that big and strong and Taylor stood barely 5-foot-5 in height.

Both Larry and Taylor died on the same day, Sunday June 2, in entirely different circumstances. Allen was vacationing with his family in Mexico and died suddenly. Dockins had been battling liver cancer since her junior year of high school and died several months after the latest attempts for her to beat the disease had failed. He was 52 years old. She was 25.

Allen became an inspirational figure for the almost miraculous path he took to become one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history. He did not play varsity high school football due to moving around so much in his youth, attending Centennial of Compton, Edison of Stockton, Tokay of Lodi and finally Vintage of Napa. When he was 12, Larry was stabbed 12 times in an incident with another youngster in Compton.

Allen eventually wound up at Butte College where he began to really see what football could do for him. That led him to Sonoma State and it was there where he really blossomed and as a senior began to gain attention of NFL scouts. After the senior bowl that season, Allen was a second-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys. He would end his career being named All-Pro 11 times and finished up with the San Francisco 49ers.

Dockins had the opposite high school career. She was a standout as a freshman at Norco High, where under head coach Rick Robinson the Cougars have become a state & national powerhouse. In the summer between her junior and senior years, Taylor and her family were shocked by the initial cancer diagnosis. She was back to full strength after that first run-through with treatments for the 2017 season and led Norco to an unbeaten record entering the CIF Southern Section D1 championship game. Although Norco fell in that game to Los Alamitos, as one of the top hitters and the leading pitcher for a 33-1 team, Dockins was an easy choice to be the Ms. Softball State Player of the Year. She sent a heartfelt text of appreciation to us afterward.

After that last game, our reporter on scene, Harold Abend, approached Taylor in the Norco dugout after a decent amount of time and asked her that the loss must be tough after all she’d been through. Her response, “It was tougher in the hospital.”

Many around California and the nation will never forget these two inspriational athletes. We offer our peace and love to all of their families, friends and supporters.

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One Comment

  1. Laura
    Posted June 10, 2024 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you for highlighting Taylor’s accomplishment. I had the honor and pleasure of being her nurse during part of her journey. I am truly saddened to hear of her loss but know she is in God’s Glory as she was such a light and young woman of God. Her legacy lives on in the hearts and lives of all those she blessed. I am better person for having known her, till we meet again ❤️

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