Here's a quick high school football quiz: Which brother tandem ranks first nationally for most career passing yards?
Peyton and Eli Manning? Josh and John David Booty? Koy and Ty Detmer?
Try Ben and Maty Mauk
. And it's not even close.
Call it unconventional or just plain crazy, but the brand of football Kenton (Ohio)
head coach Mike Mauk employs has led to two state titles and the two most prolific passers in high school history.
Combined, Ben and Maty Mauk have thrown for 30,883 yards for Mike, their father. The Mannings and Detmers combined
The kicker? Maty, a recent commit to Missouri
, still has his senior season left.
"I don't understand why you'd want to (play in a different offense and) go hand the ball off," Maty Mauk said. "We throw on every down, except of course when we run the QB draw."
Jaw-dropping is right. Kenton's offense – which averaged 51.5 points and 550 yards per game last year – consists of five linemen, five receivers and a conductor at quarterback. The Wildcats go for it on fourth down no matter where the chains are (they averaged less than one punt per game last year) and try an onside kick after every score. Maty sums it up with one word: "Fun."
Yeah – for Kenton.
Taking over a program that owned nine winning seasons prior to his arrival in 1983, Mike has led the Wildcats to three state finals, eight Western Buckeye League titles and 189 wins. His sons and their arms have been a large part of the script.
Just 6-24 his first three years, Mike shifted his paradigm and took to the air. He hasn't landed yet.
"We tried to run the Wing-T, the Fullhouse T, the split veer and we tried to do some other things that were more along the lines of traditional football," Mike said. "We realized we had to do something different to compete in our league so we went to one back at first and ran the run-and-shoot. In the late 1990s – without a pure running back coming back – we talked about what it would be like if we just eliminated the back altogether. That's when we evolved into where we're at now.
"If you can catch the football and run, we can use you."
Ben led the Wildcats to back-to-back Division IV state titles in 2001 and 2002 and was named Ohio's Mr. Football as a senior. He's the national leader in career passing yards (17,364), pass attempts (1,905) and total yards (19,628) and ranks second in career touchdowns (178) and completions (1,095).
Little brother isn't far behind.
In just 35 high school games, Maty has thrown for 13,519 yards and 151 touchdowns. Those numbers rank sixth and seventh nationally for a career. His 15,473 total yards ranks third.
"Unfortunately a lot of people get wrapped up in the statistics and think that's what it's all about," Mike said. "To me that's irrelevant. Our No. 1 philosophy is we want to win. We've found the best way for us to do that is to play really good defense and run an offense that gives us a little bit of an advantage."
Most think Maty will overtake Ben's touchdown mark (he needs 28) around midseason, his total yard mark around Week 7 (he needs 4,156) and his passing yardage total (he needs 3,846) around Week 9.
Maty, however, has different thoughts.
"(The records aren't) really a goal," Maty said. "It's in the back of my head, but I'm really worried about and focused on winning a state championship. That's what I want. It's been a dream of mine to start four years of high school and win a state title and that dream is starting to come true. If the records come with it, it's just some icing on the cake."
Ben committed to Wake Forest before his senior season and after four successful seasons transferred to Cincinnati. In 2007 he led the Bearcats to their first 10-win season since 1951. Despite the gaudy numbers, several thought Ben's offer sheet out of high school didn't reflect what the nation's No. 1 career passing leader should warrant.
"When Ben was coming out is when people still wanted the 6-foot-4, 6-5 pro style quarterback and they thought the system produced all the numbers," Maty said. "Then Ben went to college and got to play in the spread. He showed what he could do."
Mike added, "(Ben) was 6-0, 6-1 at the most and I think a lot of people thought he was a result of the system we were doing and you could understand that. He made his decision before his senior year and I think if he would have waited he would have gotten a little more interest. At the same time he wanted to eliminate that pressure."
Maty has done the same, although recruiters have acted differently. With offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Illinois, Vanderbilt and others, Mauk chose Missouri.
What sold him?
"It's the offense," Mauk said. "Every quarterback and wide receiver should dream about playing in a system like that."
Sounds familiar. Of Note...Career Passing Yards
Ben and Maty Mauk: 30,883
Josh and John David Booty: 20,174
Ty and Koy Detmer: 16,226
Peyton and Eli Manning: 14,596Career TD Passes
Ben and Maty Mauk: 329
Peyton and Eli Manning: 181Eric Frantz is the Managing Editor of JJHuddle.com and the Publisher of miamivalleysports.com and MVP Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.