After zero previous interceptions, Mass. DB grabs five in a single game

Cameron Smith

There are statistical anomalies, and then there is the kind of game that Natick (Mass.) High defensive back Jack Turner produced against rival Needham (Mass.) High, when he tied a school record. Through the first seven games of the 2012 season, Turner had recorded exactly zero interceptions. Against Needham, he recorded five.

As noted by the Boston Globe and ESPN Boston, among other sources, Turner's remarkable game in the defensive backfield may have come from farther afield than any other great performance in recent memory. Despite being a senior, Turner was reportedly still fighting for his starting role until the previous two games.

Add to that Turner's height -- the defensive back stands a relatively slight 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds -- and Turner might just be one of the least likely player possible to erupt for five interceptions on the spin. Yet that's what happened, with Turner almost single-handedly taking control of Natick's 34-14 Bay State Conference victory.

Yet there might have been one factor that Turner had going for him: The senior also stars as an outfielder on the Natick baseball team, and two of his interceptions came on over-the-shoulder grabs of overthrown passes.

"He made two great over-the-shoulder catches," Natick football coach Mark Mortarelli told the Globe. "He's a good outfielder. I think his baseball skills took over.

"When he got to the locker room, it erupted. Everybody likes Jack. He's a great kid; a hard worker.''

If it was his baseball skills, the Natick team that trots out on the diamond might expect some Mike Trout fielding heroics come spring 2013. The senior made two interceptions on rather remarkable leaps, though Turner said that he wouldn't want to get anyone's hopes up for repeat performances of those plays anytime soon.

"I really can't jump that high," he said. "I just used my body to box the receiver out and try to catch the ball at the highest point.

"Some people were teasing me. They said I should have had more than five. I kept catching them. I surprised myself.''

He surprised Needham, too, not to mention Natick fans, which never know that Turner had an interception in him … let alone five.

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