It wasn’t a matter of if he was going to get the national record. It was a matter of when.
Jack Wright set a national high school record for receiving touchdowns with No. 96 Friday night for No. 1-ranked Regent Prep. That score against Watts was one of two TD catches by Wright, as he led the Rams to a 55-6 home win in District B-8.
“It’s a blessing from the Lord for keeping me healthy for four years,” Wright said. “All the credit goes all my teammates while I’ve been here. It means a lot, but it couldn’t be done without the team.”
Regent Prep (6-0, 1-0 B-8) never was challenged by a good Watts (5-1, 0-1) team that was clearly overwhelmed in the battle of eight-man football undefeated teams. The game was called at halftime because of the eight-man rule that ends a game if a team is up by 45 or more points at halftime.
Wright had five receptions for 127 yards and two TDs. He also returned an interception 35 yards for a TD while playing safety.
His record-setting touchdown came on a 35-yard pass with 7:18 left in the first quarter to put the Rams up 14-0.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound North Dakota commit looked like a man among boys while he and quarterback Braden Gilbert played a little more than a quarter.
Wright is especially effective because of Gilbert, who set eight-man single-season national passing records last year with 4,065 yards and 63 touchdowns.
Gilbert finished 9-of-11 for 184 yards and three TDs against Watts. He also rushed for 104 yards on four carries, including a 52-yard TD with 10 seconds remaining in the half to keep the game from going into the second half.
Kenny Tush had scored on a 17-yard TD run for Watts with 31 seconds left in the half, forcing the Rams to put Wright and Gilbert back in the game to avoid having the two teams play a second half.
The chase for Wright’s receiving record revved up earlier this year when the school did some research.
“It was shocking when I found out. I didn’t know how close we were,” Wright said.
Wright broke the record of Kirby Moore of Prosser, Washington, who is the younger brother of Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Both Moores played for Boise State.
“I can’t say enough good things about Jack Wright,” Regent Prep coach Adam Bishop said. “It starts with his character. Every college coach who comes in here recruiting him, it starts with that. He’s one of those kids you don’t have to worry about where is or if he is going to do the right thing. He’s a great role model for our younger players.
“And the Lord has really blessed him with unbelievable athletic ability.”
Much more so than records, however, Regent Prep is focused on winning the state championship this year after finishing runner-up last season.
“We have great leadership with 10 seniors, and they have a little chip on their shoulders after getting the silver ball last year,” Bishop said.
Said Wright, “Our focus is on getting the gold ball.”