November 12, 2010
Last Friday, Bald Knob (Ark.) High quarterback Cordell Crisp had a big night. In fact, he was having the kind of night that earns players a permanent spot in the record books, until he got in his own way when Bald Knob took such a commanding lead that the team's starters were pulled and the state's mercy rule was put into effect.
Crisp, in blue above, had already passed for eight touchdowns when his team's 70-34 rout of Harrisburg (Ark.) High was ground down to a near halt on Friday. In completing 30 of 49 pass attempts, the sophomore quarterback racked up an impressive 534 yards through the air ... in less than three full quarters. The sophomore completed touchdown passes from 62, 20, 12, 21, 4, 35, 15 and 15 yards in leading the Bulldogs to a huge advantage which only built after it's 34-14 first-quarter edge. According to the Arkansas Democrat & Gazette, Crisp and his fellow starters then left more than the final quarter of the team's eighth win to backups, as neither team scored in the fourth quarter with running time ticking off the clock, thanks to Arkansas' mercy rule.
If Crisp had been allowed to continue, he would have had a genuine shot at breaking the Arkansas state single-game record of 10 touchdowns. Still, the quarterback's coach was more than happy with the rather sizable points haul he did build up.
"I didn't realize how close he was to the [state record] until midway through the third period," Bald Knob coach Paul Johnston told the Arkansas Democrat & Gazette. "I thought about [letting Crisp have a run at the record], but I'm not one of those that's going to do that to another team just to get the record. When we've got the mercy rule on somebody, I'm not going to do that."
Perhaps onlookers should have seen Crisp's big night coming. The quarterback threw for seven touchdowns and 488 yards in a 63-28 win over Piggott earlier this year, and he's passed for a whopping 3,119 yards and 39 touchdowns in his team's 10 games. Still, that total came across a full four quarters, not the burgeoning star's much more brief role against Harrisburg.
Despite all the accolades his high-scoring performance earned, Johnston offered up what may be the scariest prospect of all for fellow Arkansas football coaches: He thinks Crisp still has plenty of room to improve.
"Before the game, we talked about protecting the ball and cutting down on our interceptions," Johnston told the Democrat & Gazette. "He's a kid that's still maturing as a quarterback. Early on, he thought he had to complete every pass and that's what caused his interceptions. Now, he'll go through his reads and throw the ball away when he needs to throw the ball away.
"He's a kid that anyone would love to have at any position."