Thursday, October 27, 2011
Rewriting History: Record books under assault
By Mark Tennis & Doug Huff
Maty Mauk of Kenton (Ohio) is looking to pass his brother Ben's national record for most career passing yards.
Each weekend in high school football sees players across the country set school records and personal bests. Every so often special performances and career accomplishments lead to rewrites in league and state record books. But this coming weekend of football has the potential to be special, as four major national milestones could be set.
A player from Missouri and a player committed to the University of Missouri could both be holding new national prep football records by Friday night.
Thursday also could be special for those who follow national football records because Texas running back Johnathan Gray in nearing the No. 2 all-time total on the national career scoring list and is likely to tie or surpass the second-highest career total for touchdowns scored by a non-QB. Meanwhile, a Louisiana coach , J.T. Curtis, could become just the second high school coach to win as many as 500 games with a win on Thursday night (all-time coaching wins list).
Career Pass Receiving Yards: Dorial Green-Beckham
It’s been clear since the beginning of the season that the 6-foot-6, 220-pound superstar senior was going to surpass the national record of 5,867 receiving yards set in 1996 by Abram Booty of Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.).Now, he's just 62 yards away from setting the record.
In the first game of the season, Green-Beckham had 18 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He later had a game of 13 catches for 354 yards and three scores. After last week’s 56-6 win against Marshfield (Marshfield, Mo.), his total increased to 5,806. Given his penchant for big plays, it will probably take just one or two more catches on passes from quarterback Matt Futtrell and Booty’s record will fall.
Green-Beckham could also conceivably go past the 6,000-yard mark this week. If he doesn’t, since his 8-1 team is going to be in the state playoffs, he could add to his record total in the coming weeks.
According to ESPNU, Green-Beckham, the No. 3 player in the ESPNU 150, has not announced a list of five final colleges he’s considering, but the University of Missouri is believed to be in the running.
Missouri already has a commitment from Mauk to be its future signal-caller, so there is the possibility that one national record holder could one day be throwing passes to another national record holder.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior plays next for his Aledo (Texas) team Thursday on ESPNU against Birdville (Texas). Gray already has broken numerous Texas state records, including those held for decades by Ken Hall of Sugar Land, Texas, who played in the 1950s. Just last week, Gray had the 43rd 100-yard game of his prep career to tie another state record. Recently, the stud tailback, whose father James was one of Texas Tech's most decorated running backs from 1986-89, was recognized as an Under Armour All-American.
After he passes McLendon, it seems unlikely that Gray can top the national record totals of 204 touchdowns and 1,246 points set in 2003 by Mike Hart of Onondaga (Nedrow, N.Y.). But if Gray’s team goes on another deep playoff run –- definitely possible since Aledo (6-2) is a two-time defending state champion –- then his final career totals could soar toward the record. In last year’s Class 4A Division II state final, Gray scored eight touchdowns.
Career Passing Yards: Maty Mauk
It’s understandable if Maty Mauk and his father, Kenton coach Mike Mauk, have little interest in national records this week. Their 9-0 Wildcats must first focus on netting a pivotal road win Friday night against a 9-0 Wapakoneta(Ohio) team.
Still, if Maty throws for 443 yards in the game, he’ll break the national career record of 17,364 passing yards set in 2002 by his older brother Ben, who went on to play quarterback at the University of Cincinnati. Mauk has thrown for 443 yards or more in three games so far this season, with a high of 497 on two separate occasions. He enters this week’s game with 3,403 yards and 43 touchdowns for the season.
Players like Mauk on such successful teams often have to leave blowout games early, which can limit record-breaking attempts. Since this week’s game presents a formidable foe, he figures to play longer and therefore may post higher numbers.
Earlier this season, Mauk already topped the national career touchdown pass record of 185 set in 2002 by former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak when he played at Independence (Charlotte, N.C.). With six more scoring tosses this season, Mauk will extend his record number of touchdowns to an even 200.
Coaching Wins: J.T. Curtis and the 500 club
J.T. Curtis has come a long way in the coaching fraternity since 1969, his first season at the helm of John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, La.
The Patriots went 0-10 that first season of what would become the second-winningest coaching career in high school football history. Curtis hasn't had a losing season in the 41 years since that winless fall of '69, and on Thursday night he could reach the 500-victory career milestone as John Curtis (7-0) plays Clark (New Orleans, La.) at Joe Yenni Stadium in Metairie, La.
If successful on Thursday, Curtis will join John McKissick of Summerville (Summerville, S.C.) as the only coaches at any level -- high school, college or professional -- with 500 victories. McKissick, 85, has amassed a record 592 victories since 1952.
Curtis, with a record of 499-54-6 at the school founded in 1962 by his father, the Rev. John Curtis Sr., has guided the Patriots to 23 state championships in 30 trips to the finals and reached the state title game the past 16 seasons in three different classes. Curtis, who will be 65 on Dec. 6, also has coached the Patriots baseball team to six state crowns.
While Curtis goes for his 500th win Thursday night, another coach is still celebrating his 400th victory captured last Friday. Michigan's all-time winningest coach, Al Fracassa, guided Brother Rice (Birmingham, Mich.) to a 38-2 win over Chandler Park Academy (Harper Woods, Mich.) for No. 400 in his team’s regular-season finale. He became the 11th coach nationally to reach 400 wins.
Mark Tennis is the deputy editor of ESPNHS. Doug Huff is a senior editor of ESPNHS and is the founder of the National High School Federation record book.