Another Repeat On Tap?

Carthage High School has reeled off 29 straight wins and wide receiver Jalen Claiborne has been an integral part of the Bulldogs' success. Last year, Claiborne shattered the school record for receiving yards and he's ready to do more damage this fall.

Three games into the the 2008 season, things didn't look all that promising for Carthage High School. The Bulldogs dropped the season opener to Kilgore and lost in week three versus Nacogdoches. What's transpired since then, however, has been truly incredible.

That narrow 21-18 loss on the road to Nacogdoches in 2008 is the last time that Carthage failed to win a football game. The Bulldogs went on to win thirteen consecutive games in 2008, including a 49-37 shootout over traditional power Celina in the state championship game at Texas Stadium.

Last year, Carthage continued its dominance, putting together a 16-0 season that culminated in a 13-12 win over Graham in the state title game - which was held at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the SMU campus.

"Against Graham, our offense didn't do well," said Carthage WR Jalen Claiborne, who has rewritten the record book for receivers at the school. "We had the ball at their three-yard line three different times and didn't score. We kept turning it over. We'd fumble or get the ball picked off.

"I do like the stadium at SMU. It's a nice environment and I could see myself playing there. I like the way it sits down inside a hill."

Claiborne was a one-man wrecking crew against Graham, catching eight passes for 159 (19.9 yards per catch) with a touchdown. Claiborne's 31-yard TD reception from Anthony Morgan gave the Bulldogs a lead that they would never relinquish. Morgan, aided by the sure hands and footspeed of Claiborne, was able to outduel Graham quarterback Case McCoy.

Surprisingly, Claiborne is still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but he feels that one may be forthcoming soon.

"I think that Houston might offer," he said. "I went to one of their camps earlier this summer and they wanted me to come back on July 24th, so they could show me around more. Their coaches told my head coach that they're impressed with me."

Claiborne put on a clinic at one of the SMU camps in Dallas earlier this month, but said that he hasn't had any contact with the Mustangs since then. However, he noted after the camp that the SMU coaches were pleased with his efforts in Dallas.

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