For wide receivers in some offenses, 28 receptions would make for a pretty decent season. For Camarillo (Calif.) High receiver Jake Maulhardt, it made for one very good night.
According to the Los Angeles Times and Ventura County Star, among other publications, Maulhardt somehow finished his team's 52-28 loss to Canyon (Calif.) High with an astounding 28 catches. That total was good for a California single- game record, not to mention 347 yards and three touchdowns.
The Star reported that Maulhardt's 28 receptions were good for the fourth-highest single-game total in national history at the high school level. MaxPreps did that record one better, claiming it was good for third-best all time. The record is a 32-catch performance by Mogadore (Ohio) High receiver Larry Bennett in a 1942 game against Hudson (Ohio) High (a fact reported by both MaxPreps and the Sacramento Bee).
There are plenty of reasons for Maulhardt's success; the senior stands at a lanky 6-foot-7 but has deceptive speed, making him a handful for any defensive back. On Friday, Canyon routinely double and even triple covered the receiver, who has attracted recruiting attention from five different Pac-12 programs, but none of those efforts even slowed him down, let alone stopped him.
Just how "in the zone" was Maulhardt? According to the Times, he hardly even had a concept of how many grabs he'd made by the end of the game.
"After the game, my coaches were like, 'Do you know how many catches you have?' I was like, 14. They went, 'We think you broke the state record,'" Maulhardt told the Times. … "The quarterback kept giving me the ball."
That quarterback was sophomore Michael Marin, who was making only his third varsity start. With the Scorpions in an early 21-0 hole, Camarillo had little choice but to unleash Marin's arm, a strategy which proved pleasantly effective for Camarillo fans as the young passer completed 41 of 54 pass attempts for 416 yards and four touchdowns.
Of course, it helped that he had Maulhardt out on the wing pulling in anything he cared to toss his way, as Camarillo football coach Dennis Riedmiller reflected upon with the Star.
"They did everything they could to stop him, and nothing worked," said Riedmiller. "They tried two guys, three guys. They hit him as hard as they could. He was getting hammered.
"On one play in the fourth quarter, they hit him so hard I didn't think he would get up. Jake bounced right up and, I think, caught four more passes after that. It was incredible to watch because I think he was carrying three or four tacklers on every play."