ANSONIA, Conn. -
They are crowning achievements that stand as magically in sports history as the fabled athletes who scripted them:
Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point NBA game. Jack Nicklaus' 18 major golf titles. Jerry Rice's 208 NFL touchdown catches. Wayne Gretzky's 215 points in one NHL season. Pele's 1,279 soccer goals scored. Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games played.
High school football has one, too, similarly revered and mystical yet seemingly just as unreachable for six decades: the 11,232 career rushing yards compiled by Ken Hall of Sugar Land (Texas) from 1950 to 1953
In prep parlance, Hall is the Babe Ruth of high school football. This Bambino was known as the Sugar Land Express.
An unreachable record for nearly 60 years? Without question. A record within the sights today of Ansonia (Conn.)
junior sensation Arkeel Newsome
? Could be.
Depends on who you talk to.
One thing is certain: Until it's clear that Newsome can't
break Hall's hallowed all-time rushing mark, all eyes will likely be on him and the Ansonia Chargers in each and every game for the next two seasons. This could well develop into one of the most intriguing, closely followed quests for a national high school record ever carried out.
Whether it's a football state as grand as Texas or one as small as Connecticut, records are records. And this national record suddenly has a challenger, albeit one still in the distance.
It's strange to be talking about something that likely couldn't happen until November or December of 2013, but the numbers of today don't lie. Those numbers have the ability to add up in favor of Newsome, a mercurial but modest 5-foot-8, 180-pound tailback and MaxPreps Sophomore All-American
who has already challenged for the single-season national rushing crown and helped his team reach two state championship games.
The question, of course, is will
the numbers add up in the end?
"I think (Newsome) could do it, sure," said Ansonia offensive lineman Jh'mel Trammell
. "It would be very exciting. It's hard to imagine something that big. But records aren't something we are focused on. Getting better as a team and winning is what we are dedicated to. If we do that, everything else will take care of itself, maybe Arkeel, too."
"Definitely interesting," Newsome replied, when the possibility of the chase was first presented to him earlier this summer. "For something that's been a record for 60 years, it's hard to know what to say. It would be an honor to be a part of history like that. But we have a lot of business to take care of first."
Video by Adam Spencer/Edited by Scott Hargrove