"Mr. High School Sports" – Spanning the States
Two hot-button issues have been debated in the NFL over the course of this year, to say nothing of the league’s labor dispute: the issue of player safety, particularly of the head variety, and the issue of how to handle overtime. How do we prevent brain damage, and how do we keep games from dragging on, when they’re already three hours long to begin with? Both issues will probably be looked at more closely at the high school level as well, if what happened last weekend continues to take place.
A tragedy in Kansas overshadowed what must have been one of the most uncanny football games in state history, and a lot of folks in Texas were kept waiting…and waiting…and waiting…and waiting…to see if one team would make the playoffs. There’s news on the national recruiting front, and on the PIAA scene, where another milestone was reached. Thanks to our friends at MaxPreps.com, here are the latest scholastic football headlines from all over the greatest (sports) country in the world:
OSAWATOMIE, KS – What happened here last Thursday was probably one of the most emotionally draining high school sporting events you’ll ever see or hear about. Spring Hill (Spring Hill, Kansas) running back Nathan Stiles already had been concussed once before the team’s game against Osawatomie (Osawatomie, Kansas), back on Oct. 1, which, ironically, was the same night he was named homecoming king. Even though he was cleared to play last week, that injury may have been part of his undoing. Stiles ran for two early touchdowns and made a 2nd-quarter interception, a play on which he was hit hard and complained to his coach about head pain, according to the Miami County Republic, before losing consciousness on the sideline and being rushed to the hospital. Stiles died in the middle of the night at University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. On a less important but nevertheless strange note, Spring Hill beat Osawatomie by an extraordinary score of 99-72. Osawatomie’s Brandon Oakes was the top receiver in the nation last week with 275 yards, and Spring Hill led 32-30 after just one quarter.
NACOGDOCHES, TX – If patience is a virtue, then the Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Texas) Indians, a Class 4A Region II team located on the eastern side of the state, must be the most virtuous high school team on the planet. Last Friday Jacksonville outlasted the host Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches, Texas) Dragons 84-81 on a 19-yard field goal by Rodrigo Carreon in the 12th overtime, ending the contest at 12:54 AM local time. The approximate game time of five hours, 24 minutes is believed to be a national record, and the number of overtimes played is a confirmed national record. According to the National High School Record Book, the previous mark for most overtimes was a pair of games that each went nine extra sessions; it first happened in Michigan in 1977 between a pair of Detroit area schools, and it happened again in Washington state in 2006. The game was tied at 28 at the end of regulation, and part of why it may have dragged on has to do with playoff scenarios. Nacogdoches would have had to win this game by eight points and win again next week (regardless of margin) to qualify for the postseason, so they had to let Jacksonville score on multiple occasions. The 165 combined points falls short of the state record, set in 1930 when Spur defeated Lorenzo 186-0.
POTTSTOWN, PA – A while back I talked about Ryan Brumfield (pictured left), a first team all-state tailback from Owen J. Roberts (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), a PIAA Distrct 1 team in southeastern Pennsylvania, who is climbing the Commonwealth’s career rushing yards ladder. In a lopsided 55-14 win over Pioneer Athletic Conference rival Boyertown (Boyertown, Pennsylvania) Brumfield carried 38 times for six touchdowns and 285 yards, giving the senior 8,034 yards for his career. This makes him just the fourth player in PIAA history to gain over 8,000 career rushing yards; in case you’re curious, the other three are Jeremiah Young of Steelton-Highspire, James Mungro of East Stroudsburg (and later the Indianapolis Colts), and Zach Barket of Schuylkill Haven. Brumfield has scored 30 touchdowns this season, and his third of last week’s game was also the 100th of his high school career.
GOOSE CREEK, SC – On the national recruiting front, it appears Steve Spurrier has landed one of the most prized hogs in South Carolina. Goose Creek (Goose Creek, South Carolina) senior offensive lineman Brandon Shell, a 6’7″, 290-pound tackle, has committed to the Gamecocks, according to the Charleston Post and Courier. CBS College Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming pegs Shell as America’s No. 6 overall recruit in the Class of 2011 and the No. 2 offensive line recruit in the country behind only Cyrus Kouandjio of DeMatha (Washington, D.C.).
ALMA, GA – It was a red-letter week for another young man who seems destined to play college ball in the SEC. Wilcox County (Rochelle, Georgia) senior quarterback Nick Marshall (pictured left), who also is a standout basketball and baseball player, threw for 268 yards and six touchdowns in a 47-16 rout of Bacon County (Alma, Georgia), giving him 92 career TD tosses. That ties a Georgia state record shared by two others, and it leaves him with one more regular season game to break that mark. Marshall has already committed to the University of Georgia for basketball and football, hoping to play defensive back.
For all 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, back at its regular time, Saturday morning 8:00-10:00, on SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan and 937thefan.com!