While Friday's game between Gainesville (Fla.) Oak Hall High and Ocala (Fla.) St. John
Lutheran School was exhausting for the players involved, you'll have to forgive the official scorekeeper if he felt a little tired himself; the stats were enough to make him feel like he'd just run a marathon.
The 69-61 Oak Hall win was a shootout for the ages, complete with multiple state records from a single player, a run at a national single-game mark and a running back who gained nearly 500 yards on the ground by himself. One particularly action-packed quarter took more than 90 minutes to play, and Prep Rally reader David Stirt -- an Oak Hall parent -- reported that the game lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours in total.
Want more proof of just how exceptional a matchup it was? Try this: The teams combined for 1,168 yards of total offense; 634 for St. John and 534 for Oak Hall. The 130 total points also tied a Florida state mark for most combined points in a single game.
As documented by the Gainesville Sun, Oak Hall senior quarterback Jared Armstrong was the real scene stealer, passing for nine touchdowns -- good for second most in national history in an 11-man high school game -- and tied a national mark for most touchdown passes in a quarter by throwing for five in the third period alone. Seven of Armstrong's nine scoring passes came in the second half. Perhaps most impressively of all, Armstrong's heavy-scoring performance came without the senior throwing a single interception.
"Jared caught fire tonight," Oak Hall coach Scott McDaniel told the Sun. "Tonight, they did a good job taking away the run game. They challenged our quarterback and our receivers to make plays and they did. Jared was as sharp as he has ever been."
Incredibly, Oak Hall needed all of that offense, in large part because they just couldn't stop St. John running back Calib Alexander, who had a game for the ages himself. Alexander carried the ball 33 times, racking up an amazing 458 yards and eight touchdowns in the process.
And the drama went far beyond two under-appreciated super stars racking up big numbers. Instead, it was a seesaw shootout in every sense of the word. St. John led 31-20 at halftime, but that was before the teams combined for an astounding nine touchdowns in the third quarter. Between those scores and the ones that followed in the fourth, the lead changed hands 7 times.
While Oak Hall took a lead for the final time with more than 10 minutes remaining, it's edge was only 62-61 until the final 1:32, when a final touchdown made up the final margin of victory.
That proved to be the coda on a very long night, though it was one that neither players or fans of either team is likely to forget any time soon.
"Despite my statistics, to go out here in my last game with a win, those numbers on the scoreboard mean more to me," Armstrong, the son of former NFL All-Pro defensive end Trace Armstrong, told the Sun.