Whatever happened to the 100-yard back?

    Remember when a 100-yard rushing performance in a high school football
game was considered a really good night?  It doesn’t seem that long
ago.  But offenses have become more sophisticated, and it seems the
defensive schemes just haven’t kept pace.
    Combine that with
improved training and physical conditioning and you have a blueprint
for what’s happening on the field nowadays.  The result is eye-popping
performances night after night.
    And these athletic achievements
aren’t just a product of the large-school systems where facilities are
often bigger and better.  Think of Kyle Graf, a running back from tiny (370 students) Benson High School in Class 2A, who rushed for 2,000 yards last season.  Or Keevan Schimmel from
Blue Ridge High School in the small town of Lakeside, who racked up 245 all-purpose
yards in a win over Round Valley just last week.  The list goes on and
    As we get deeper into a season, runners are getting better
thanks to the season-long game experience.  And that includes
quarterbacks, since there are so many now that are a dual-threat,
scoring on the ground or in the air. Or sometimes it’s a combination
top quarterback and best-back runner that combine to carry the load for
the rest of the team.  For instance, QB Ryan Stanford and running back Matt Jones combined for 530 yards to carry Horizon HS to a win against North Canyon a couple of weeks ago.
Last week, you could throw out all the 100-yard-plus games and still
have a long list of 200-yard performances, running or passing, or both
combined: Kevin Pantastico (Desert Ridge HS) 347 yds…Trevor Bonifasi (Boulder Creek HS) 322 yds (all passing)… Anthony Hughes (Centennial HS) 301 yds… Brett Hundley (Chandler HS) 300 yds… Justin Sieczkowski (Seton Catholic HS) 292 yds…Darrion Murphy (Trevor Browne HS) 249 yds… Joe Munoz (North HS) 244 yds… Jenson Cruse (Scottsdale Christian Academy) 234 yds… Dillon Classen (Cactus Shadows HS) 232 yds… Max Leonesio (Brphy Prep) 229 yds… Chris Freudenberg (McClintock HS) 229 yds… Charles James (Valley Vista HS) 221 yds… Aaron Taylor (Peoria HS) 220 yds… Terrance Martin (Dobson HS) 206 yds… Ben Grams
(Arizona Lutheran HS) 205 yds.  There are dozens more, scattered
through 1A – 5A competition, but these provide a frame of reference for
the kind of scoring that is going on in high school football.
Scoring has gone through the roof, too, as the fan in the stands is
almost assured of being able to witness at least one or two 40+ points
scoring efforts by one of the combatants on the field each week.  Games
of 60+ points are no longer that uncommon.
    A 1,000-yard season
was also a high mountain just years ago.  This season, it will likely
be a club that is not so exclusive as dozens of players either pass or
run their way into it.
   In the long run, lots of scoring makes
high school football fun to watch.  Unless, of course, your team is on
the short end of a blow-out.