Kade Warner did what he could to help his Desert Mountain High School football team to its first win of the season when the Scottsdale school took on Pinnacle High School last Friday.
The Wolves, who remain the only team in the 6A conference still looking for a win in the 2016 season, almost pulled it off, but fell a point short in the 35-34 loss to the Pioneers.
But in the process, the 6’2″ wide receiver set a state record for receptions.
Warner’s impressive performance of eight receptions for 129 yards and a couple of touchdowns would have been even more memorable since it would have been in front of a home crowd that was anticipating a record night. He needed just six catches to eclipse the old record for 11-man football, also set by a Desert Mountain player, Mark Andrews.
He broke Andrews’ three-year old career mark of 207 catches, finishing the game with 210.
While Warner would no doubt rather be on a team that could be a state title contender for his last year of high school ball, he should feel fortunate to have played within an offense that relies heavily on the pass. The Wolves average just 71 yards rushing per game, but tack on 334 yards through the air.
As a result, senior quarterback Austin Nuessle has already piled up 2,006 yards passing. The senior completes 65 per cent of his pass attempts and has more than one sure-handed target. Warner leads the receiving corps with 52 receptions so far this season, but a couple of juniors aren’t far behind, making the Wolves’ passing attack a real challenge for opposing secondaries.
Joshua Walker has 36 catches so far and Nick Hall is close behind with 32.
Warner has had an advantage growing up that most other high school athletes don’t enjoy. His father is Kurt Warner, who spent 12 years as an NFL quarterback and retired in 2010 as No. 3 on the all-time NFL list in pass completion percentage (65.5%).
Having an NFL quarterback as your pass-and-catch partner had to have helped in developing as a receiver. His father has been keeping an even closer eye on Kade’s development this year, signing on to serve as the Desert Mountain offensive coordinator.
Desert Mountain has four more games left on its schedule. Kade Warner is averaging almost nine receptions per game.
If that continues, Warner could set a mark that will be difficult to beat for years to come.