He was so, so close.
Just a week after breaking the all-time Texas single-season scoring record, Devine (Texas) High running back and kicker Joseph Sadler was on the precipice of breaking the national mark for the statistic as well. Yet needing only a field goal attempt or touchdown to set a new mark, the back ultimately fell just two points short of Brett Law's existing record.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Sadler concluded his senior campaign with 451 points after scoring just 10 points during Devine's 38-12 loss to Wimberley (Texas) High in the Class 3A Division II state playoffs on Saturday night. The sturdy back also ran for 207 yards in the loss, a total which moved him to number two in the state's all-time single season rushing list, behind the legendary Ken Hall, who still holds the all-time national career rushing record.
Still, despite finishing on the cusp of one of high school sports' most seemingly impenetrable record, Devine was much more disappointed with the fact that his high school career was over than he was about missing out on a slice of personal history.
"It's more disappointing not winning," Sadler told the San Antonio Express-News after Devine's loss. "Wimberley is a really good team. They fly to the football and make plays. You have to give Wimberley credit."
You also have to give plenty of credit to Sadler, who has found a way to top one of the most notable headlining prep rushing talents in recent years, if not ever. While Jonathan Gray has received ample attention for both incredible career and single season rushing feats and occasional histrionics -- the Aledo (Texas) High star was awarded the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award on Tuesday -- Sadler quietly went about re-writing the state scoring records directly under the nose of Gray and the statisticians and fans who were eagerly following him.
Of course, Sadler had a significant edge over Hall and Gray. As both a running back and kicker, the versatile Devine star was always scoring points in multiple ways, earning seven points for nearly every end zone trip while the likes of Gray and Hall were limited to six per score.
Yet the ability to kick may also be the cruelest twist of Devine's painfully close brush with the scoring record. Considering the fact that just three more made extra points -- or a single additional made field goal -- would have made Sadler the all-time single season points leader, the fact that he finished so close to the mark is almost painful. In the playoffs alone, Sadler missed two extra points, conversions which would have tied the mark if he had been successful.
At the end of the day, any and all of those misses can take little away from what Sadler did accomplish, a feat which was only topped once in modern prep football history. Still, given just how close he came to setting an all-time mark, it's likely that high school football fans will always look back and consider his remarkable senior season with a slight tinge of what if.
- the Dallas Morning News