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Johnathan Gray has nose for end zone

After a five-touchdown performance last week, Aledo (Texas) five-star running back Johnathan Gray is at the center of attention -- more so than normal.

The electric Texas commitment upped his career high school touchdowns total to 144 in last week's win against Weatherford (Texas). Gray, who is No. 8 in the ESPNU 150, needs two touchdowns to tie and three to break the state record, currently held by Traylon Shead, a redshirt freshman running back at Texas who starred at Cayuga (Texas) from 2006-09.

The entire Aledo community is buzzing about the possibility of Gray breaking the record on Friday, particularly as Aledo, the defending UIL Class 4A Division II state champion, prepares for its clash against Lake Travis (Texas), the defending 4A Division I champion.

"It's kind of a big deal, but as far as now, I'm just trying to help the team win games," said Gray, an Under Armour All-American who opened the season with a four-touchdown show against Stephenville (Texas).

"As far as breaking records, that's not really on my mind. If I break it, I break it. If I don't, I don't. I would love to score a touchdown to win the game for us. In a game like this one, I'm not looking to break records."

To show just how special Gray's accomplishment would be if he were to pass Shead, Gray would have more touchdowns than current NFL players Jacquizz Rodgers (Lamar Consolidated, 2004-07), Cedric Benson (Midland Lee, 1998-2000) and Jordan Shipley (Burnet, 2001-03).

Dallas-area teams shine at Herbstreit Classic
The message following Monday's Kirk Herbstreit Kickoff Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington was clear
Don't mess with Texas -- particularly teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

As the Labor Day quadrupleheader came to a conclusion, all four winners were from a 30-mile radius in the north Texas area. DeSoto and Arlington Bowie won border battles over Douglass and New Orleans Edna Karr, respectively, and Dallas Skyline beat Cocoa, Fla., in the much-anticipated Texas vs. Florida clash. Cedar Hill defeated another Texas team, Denton Guyer, in a rematch from last year's event.

"Texas doesn't like to lose to any out-of-state teams. It can be California, Florida, Oklahoma; we just don't want to lose to anyone out of state," DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said. "There's bragging rights, and I think we showcased the talent around our area and did a great job of having our schools put on a show."

DeSoto made the loudest of the loud statements by beating Oklahoma City Douglass 63-0. DeSoto's multi-talented squad includes cornerbacks Jalen Mills (LSU commitment) and Bryson Echols (Texas), defensive end Michael Richardson (Texas A&M), offensive tackle Curtis Riser (Texas) and running back Devin Rushing (Air Force).

Arguably the most impressive of DeSoto's group Monday was junior receiver/punt returner Dontre Wilson, who not only scored on a 33-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Raheem Wilson but also nearly ran back three punts against Douglass. Wilson is getting looks from Texas A&M, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and a host of other schools.

Around the region

Missouri-bound linebacker Donavin Newsom (St. Louis/Parkway North) has been sidelined with a knee injury suffered during Parkway North's season opener on Aug. 26.
Parkway North coach Bob Bunton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Newsom will have the knee evaluated this week, and his return date to the field is questionable. Newsom injured his MCL, and those injuries can take as many as six weeks to heal. ... One of Colorado's most highly-touted recruits has yet to commit and is taking his time with the process. Dual-threat quarterback Steve Donatell (Highland Ranch, Colo./Highland Ranch), the 6-5, 200-pound son of San Francisco 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell, has an offer from Nebraska and also is getting looks from Colorado, Colorado State, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Northwestern, among others.

Damon Sayles covers Midlands recruiting. He can be reached at dsaylesespn@gmail.com.