The ball seemingly never touched the ground.
Some high school performances live on in local lore forever. We tried to capture those games here with the most insane, eye-popping receiving numbers in single games in the history of the high school football.
These 12 performances stand out from all others. While the air game has been amplified over the past two decades, this list isn’t limited to 21st century wide receivers — there are several from the 90s, including an astonishing 1942 performance.
Statistics come from a variety of sources including MaxPreps, NFHS, ESPN, local newspapers, and state association websites that track high school football records.
12. Earvin Johnson, Cathedral High School (Los Angeles, Calif.): Nov. 8, 1988
12 catches, 251 yards, 8 touchdowns
He’s not Magic, but it certainly was Showtime in Los Angeles on this 1988 autumn evening. Wide receiver Earvin Johnson broke the previous national record of six touchdowns as he accounted for 48 of his team’s points in the 67-38 win. Four of his touchdowns were longer than 20 yards and the longest was 50.
The eight touchdowns has yet to be beat.
11. Jake Maulhardt, Camarillo High School (Calif.): Sept. 23, 2011
28 receptions, 347 yards, 3 touchdowns
That 28 reception number is a ridiculous thing to fathom. Quarterback Michael Marin had 42 completions for 447 passing yards — very, very high numbers alone. And Maulhardt caught two-thirds of that total, along with three of the four four touchdowns.
The yardage is slightly disputed — some say 345, one website said 351 — but that 6-yard differential does nothing to change the impact of his game.
10. Ramon Nevarez, Bolsa Grande High School (Garden Grove, Calif.): 1996
8 receptions, 377 yards, 4 TD
You can argue that eight receptions, a good but not abnormal number, should drop him down, but let’s go the opposite way: Ramon Nevarez averaged more than 47 yards per reception. If his team had the ball at their own 1-yard line, a catch by Nevarez would, on average, get them to midfield. If they had the ball at the 50, a catch would either be a touchdown or set them up for one. And all this took place in 1996, before the surge of passing. It’s an absurd figure.
9. Yzerick Oliver, Worthing High School (Houston, Texas): Nov. 15, 2013
19 receptions, 419 yards and 4 touchdowns
Yzerick Oliver was first-team all-district as a receiver, cornerback and kick returner, and his best performance came in the playoffs. He amassed more than 400 receiving yards even while playing all three phases of the game. Two of his touchdowns went for 31 yards, one for 15 and one for seven.
8. Jeff Clark, Nitro High School (Wv.): Oct. 29, 1999
29 catches, 413 yards
Much of this game is lost to history, but one thing is clear: More than 20 years ago, Jeff Clark set two ridiculous marks that stand as West Virginia high school records today. Twenty-nine receptions and 413 yards would be a solid season for some receivers. For Clark, it was just a casual game night. The 29 catches are second-most nationally, and the receiving yards are seventh-most.
7. Robert Rhodes, Southwest High School (Fort Worth, Texas): Oct. 14, 2011
10 catches, 394 yards, eight touchdowns
It took 13 years for someone to catch Earvin Johnson’s touchdown record. Finally, in 2011, Robert Rhodes reached that eight touchdown mark — and he did it on just 10 receptions. He averaged almost 40 yards per catch and had an 80% touchdown ratio. If those numbers have been matched, we haven’t seen them.
6. Larry Bennett, Mogadore High School (Ohio): Oct. 16, 1942
32 receptions, 335 yards
Not a whole lot of written work in the aftermath of this game as been preserved, but what is known is that 32 receptions in one game remains a national record. Nobody else has reached 30.
And he recorded this in 1942. Adjusted for inflation — if Larry Bennett did this with today’s pass-happy game — this absolutely would have been upward of 40 receptions and 450 yards, right?
5. Gehrig Dieter, Washington High School (South Bend, Ind.): Sept. 2, 2011
12 catches, 437 yards, 4 touchdowns
Gehrig Dieter became the first Indiana high school football player to record three games of 300-plus receiving yards in a row. In the final one, he set a national high school record with 437 yards.
As Dieter approached the record, the final 10 offensive plays went in his direction. His touchdowns included a 90-yarder and a 39-yarder, the latter of which was the record-breaking catch, and he averaged more than 36 yards per reception.
The streak of 300-yard games earned him a boost in these rankings. It was an unbelievable stretch.
4. Steve Martinez, Wilson High School (Los Angeles, Calif.): Nov. 4, 1977
19 receptions, 312 yards, five touchdowns
One could argue this game should rank higher for one big reason: Steve Martinez only played the first half. He recorded 19 receptions, 312 yards and five touchdowns in half a game. He was 11 yards away from the state record. And only played one half.
Incredible numbers for a game. Unbelievable for a half.
3. Kraig Pruett, Waldport High School (Ore.): Nov. 2, 2013
18 catches, 456 yards, four touchdowns
Dieter’s record didn’t last all that long. In fact, Kraig Pruett’s 456 yards actually broke a new record, one which had been set a month prior. More on that in a moment.
Pruett put together one of the greatest receiving performances of all time in Waldport’s final game of the 2013 season, recording four touchdowns on the 18 catches that accounted for 456 receiving yards.
This smashed the previous Oregon high school record, one which had been set 10 years earlier, by more than 100 yards.
Pruett finished the season with an average of 155 receiving yards per game, the second-most in Oregon history.
2. Marc Lozoya, Alexander High School (Laredo, Texas): Oct. 10, 2013
16 catches, 448 yards, six touchdowns*
Lozoya held the receiving record for almost a month before he was edged out by Pruett, but one notable aspect of this game pushes it to the No. 2 spot: Lozoya did not play the majority of the fourth quarter. Most, if not all, of these numbers came through three quarters of play.
The 448 receiving yards set a Texas high school record, a mark that still stands today. Throw in the six touchdowns, and Lozoya put together one of the most impressive receiving performances of all time.
*initial reports said 17 catches for 454 yards. It appears it was corrected.
1. Nate Drew, Chavez Academy (Detroit, Mich.): Nov. 11, 2013
17 catches for 459 yards and seven touchdowns
The actual yardage is under dispute — some records say 459 yards, some say 456 — which means he is either tied for the record or has sole possession. But what isn’t under dispute is Nate Drew’s absolute dominance. Only two players have caught more touchdown passes in a game, and only four others have even reached seven.
It was the most yards and second-most touchdowns in a game, along with 17 receptions and an average of 27 yards per catch. It’s the greatest high school receiving performance of all time.