Gray Sets National Record

In a season marked by Johnathan Gray making records, it came as no surprise to anyone in attendance that Gray set another one. Instead, the shocker came that he took as long as he did.

Gray entered Saturday's Class 4A Division II State Championship game tied for the national record with 204 career touchdowns scored. And with Gray scoring 69 all-purpose touchdowns through the season's first 14 games, he figured to grab at least three touchdowns, if not five.

But a combination of a minor knee injury and a nasty Manvel defense keyed by multiple FBS prospects was able to keep Gray from finding the end zone through the first three quarters. Still, Gray built his reputation on being able to score from anywhere on the field, and in the fourth quarter, he did just that. After taking a draw play, Gray burst through traffic and outran his pursuit for a 37-yard score, the his only score of the game. That score was enough to put him in first place all by himself on the all-time list.

Gray later called it his hardest score of the season.

"The record means a lot because I couldn't do it alone," Gray said. "Breaking a record like that takes a team effort."

But Manvel defensive end Taiwan Johnson, a huge part of the effort to limit Gray, said Gray deserved a huge portion of the credit.

"Gray's a good back," Johnson said. "He runs hard and never quits. He deserves the recognition he gets."

Gray finished the game with 241 yards rushing on 30 carries and a touchdown.

That left him just short of several other records, including 14 points shy of Mike Hart's national scoring record and one touchdown below T.A. McClendon's single-season all-purpose touchdown record. Gray's 10,908 career rushing yards were good enough for third place on the national charts, and Saturday marked his state-record 51st career 100-yard game.

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