It shouldn't be possible for a player to produce one of the best individual performances in a state's history only to watch his team lose. Unfortunately, that's little consolation for McLane Carter today.
Carter, the star quarterback for Salado (Texas) High, delivered one of the best statistical performances in the Lone Star State's long football history, passing for an incredible 613 yards and eight touchdowns in a game against Lorena (Texas) High. One would assume that kind of a performance would be good enough to all but ensure a win, but in this case it wasn't; Lorena escaped with a 75-67 victory in one of the wilder back-and-forth performances in recent memory.
The 613 yards marked just the fourth time in state history that a Texas quarterback threw for more than 600 yards, with all four performances coming since 2009. The 613 yards were also the most ever recorded by a passer in a Class 2A contest.
"It was an offensive battle, I know that," Carter told the Killeen Daily Herald. "We had ups and downs, had a couple of three-and-outs, but I just kept on fighting, kept my composure. ... We put up a lot of points, but we didn’t come up with a victory, so we’re going to keep working and see what we can do next week — China Spring’s at home."
Carter got things going early for Salado, helping the Eagles to a 21-0 early lead. Then Lorena exploded for 30 straight points before the teams traded spurts, Salado eventually taking a late 52-51 lead just before the end of the third quarter. The back-and-forth continued in the fourth quarter until a 13-yard run with 2:34 remaining gave Lorena its final touchdown … and enough of a buffer to withstand Carter's final push.
In a unique statistical quirk, as impressive as Carter was through the air, Lorena's backs were on the ground. Salado finished the game with 613 yards passing and 80 on the ground while Lorena had 609 yards on the ground and 78 through the air.
Perhaps fittingly, Salado's coach said he was more encouraged by his team's performance than he was frustrated that the game hadn't gone their way.
"A shoot-out, Texas high school football, it’s fun to watch, but our kids deserved to win tonight," Salado coach Brent Graham told the Daily Herald. "I didn’t get them in the right spots to make plays, but there were a lot of plays made out there.
"Our kids are going to fight to the finish and that’s what’s beautiful about it. You give up 75 points and your kids are still fighting tooth and nail to get off the field as fast as they can for our offense. It was uplifting to watch our kids play."