Johnathan Gray sets high school mark

Updated: December 17, 2011, 9:51 PM ET
By Randy Jennings | Special to ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Johnathan Gray, a senior running back at Aledo (Texas) High School, became the national high school leader for career touchdowns Saturday.

He scored No. 205 in Saturday afternoon's 49-28 victory over Manvel in the Class 4A Division II Texas state championship game before 43,369 at Cowboys Stadium.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound University of Texas commit broke the record on a 37-yard draw play with 6:49 to play in the fourth quarter.

The historic touchdown is the 65th rushing score this season for Gray.

"It was definitely the hardest touchdown of the season," said Gray, who finished with 241 yards on 30 carries, despite leaving the game briefly in the first half with what he described as a stinger. "The record means a lot because I couldn't do it alone. Breaking a record like that takes a team effort."

Manvel coach Kirk Martin said he thought his defense did a decent job containing Gray.

"Gray's a good back," said Manvel defensive end Taiwan Johnson. "He runs hard and never quits. He deserves the recognition he gets."

With the victory, Aledo (14-2) captured its third straight state crown.

Gray, a winner of the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, broke the eight-year-old touchdown record of Michael Hart. Hart played at Nedrow Onondaga, N.Y., continued his football career at the University of Michigan (and holds the Wolverines' career rushing record) before playing professionally for three seasons for the Indianapolis Colts. He is now an assistant football coach at Eastern Michigan.

Hart withstood Gray's challenge to retain the national points record in scoring, 1,246-1,232.

Gray finished his high school career No. 3 on the career rushing list with 10,908 yards. He moved past Kevin Parks Jr., who ran for 10,895 yards for Mount Ulla West Rowan, North Carolina, from 2006-09.

Gray finished one touchdown short of the national single-season record for all-purpose touchdowns, held by T.A. McLendon of Albemarle, North Carolina, who scored 71 touchdowns in 2001. Gray extended his state career record of 100-yard rushing games to 51.

"Our priority was to win the game, not get Johnathan the record,'' Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. "I guarantee you if Johnathan had broken the record and we didn't win, he wouldn't have been happy."

Randy Jennings is a regular contributor to ESPNDallas.com.