"Mr. High School Sports" – Spanning the States
Doing this portion of my blog has helped me appreciate how seriously high school football is taken in other parts of the country, and the high-end college talent that exists beyond our own borders. This week the national record book looks a bit different than it did the week before, thanks to some Herculean efforts by one player. Furthermore, I have a whole new outlook on fandom after seeing what happened down south.
A big crowd at a Big East facility got treated to a big night for a big local rivalry. Also, we have an update on the pioneering female coach I told you about a while ago, and as if one quarterback re-writing the history books wasn’t impressive enough, I’ve found another one this week. Thanks to our friends at MaxPreps.com, who make it all happen, here are the latest high school football headlines from around the greatest (sports) country in the world:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Once upon a time, I told you folks about Natalie Randolph, who is believed to be the only woman in America currently serving as head coach of a high school’s varsity football team. Last Friday Randolph finally had something to celebrate besides simply having her name in the history books. Her Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) Colts delivered her first-ever victory as head coach with a 48-12 romp over visiting Anacostia (Washington, D.C.). It had to be a tremendous breath of fresh air for Randolph considering her team dropped its first five games and only managed 37 points in those contests, while allowing at least 20 in each. Coolidge tries to make it two in a row at Cardozo (Washington, D.C.) this week.
NORTH AUGUSTA, SC – Last week I talked about Maty Mauk, who became one of the few high school quarterbacks in America history to throw for 10,000 yards in a career. Well, wouldn’t you know it, we have another. Northwestern (Rock Hill, South Carolina) quarterback Justin Worley racked up 434 yards and four touchdowns in an easy 42-14 win over North Augusta (North Augusta, South Carolina) to give the junior signal-caller an unofficial career total of 10,142 passing yards. The National Federation of High Schools Record Book does not list any quarterback from South Carolina as having thrown for 10,000 career yards; however, records kept by the state indicate Worley joined Willie Korn and Chris Dodd as the third in South Carolina history to do so. Korn reached 10,000 in his senior season of 2006, while Dodd just last year. Worley is on pace, barring serious injury, to become the state’s all-time passing yardage leader before he graduates.
HUGO, OK – The state of Oklahoma now has a new all-time passing leader. The previous record of 9,574 career yards by Paul Smith of Owasso (Owasso, Oklahoma) High School has fallen by the wayside, as Atoka (Atoka, Oklahoma) senior quarterback L.T. Pfaff totaled 392 yards and redeemed himself for three INT’s by hurling five touchdown passes in last week’s 41-13 blowout of Hugo (Hugo, Oklahoma). That gives Pfaff 9,849 career passing yards, putting him into the top 30 on the national all-time list, with still half a season remaining. Pfaff has 1,672 yards on the year, and last week’s victory marked his fourth straight effort of at least 300 passing yards. In addition, Pfaff has thrown for 17 touchdowns in all, having thrown multiple TD passes in every game.
CURWENSVILLE, PA – History continues to be made on the high school gridiron right here in our own backyard, as Alex Holland of Curwensville (Curwensville, Pennsylvania) in District 9 delivered one of the best rushing performances in the history of the Commonwealth last week. The junior tailback ran 33 times for 417 yards to set the district’s single-game rushing record and added five touchdowns in a 48-20 romp over visiting Kane (Kane, Pennsylvania) in Allegheny Mountain-Southern action. Holland captivated the home crowd by racing for long touchdowns of 36, 65, 58, and 60 yards; throw in a relatively short touchdown run of 12 yards, and his TD runs accounted for more than half (231 yards) of his offensive outburst. In his first five outings this year Holland has scored 12 times and gained 1,082 yards on the ground, averaging 216 rush yards per game.
LOUISVILLE, KY – It’s fun to compare the passion people have for high school football here in western Pennsylvania to how seriously people take it elsewhere in the country. One thing is for certain: Trinity (Louisville, Kentucky) loves a big room…a really big room. I really have to wonder if we’ll ever see this kind of figure for a meaningful game in this region, but at any rate, an incredible crowd of 34,326 showed up at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville to witness a 6-A rivalry game between the Shamrocks and St. Xavier (Louisville, Kentucky) last Friday night, and although the game was no contest, it was still a milestone moment in the series, to say nothing of the attendance. Trinity blanked St. X 48-0, which tied for the largest margin of victory in the more than half-century that those two schools have played each other. Oddly enough, the only other time one team won the game by 48 points was the first-ever meeting in 1956.
(Special thanks to the Post-Gazette for their contributions to this post.)
For more of the latest news and views on and off the gridiron, be sure to check out The Post-Gazette High School Football Show Presented by First Commonwealth Bank with the Post-Gazette’s Mike White and MSA’s Don Rebel, Saturday mornings 8:00-10:00 on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan and 937thefan.com!