Arnold will have to wait for recordFrom no matter which sideline the game was viewed, Ellendale senior running back Nate Arnold had an unbelievable game against the South Border Mustangs in Ashley on Sept. 12. Arnold, who was moved from the fullback position to the tailback position this season, had his way with South Border’s defense, but two different sets of statistics tell two very different stories.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
From no matter which sideline the game was viewed, Ellendale senior running back Nate Arnold had an unbelievable game against the South Border Mustangs in Ashley on Sept. 12.
Arnold, who was moved from the fullback position to the tailback position this season, had his way with South Border’s defense, but two different sets of statistics tell two very different stories.
According to Ellendale head coach Rick Hack, stats from Ellendale’s sideline report the senior standout amassed an incredible 550 yards on 30 carries and seven rushing touchdowns. If the 550-yard rushing mark holds, the feat would be a new national 9-man single-game rushing record.
The current single-game rushing record in prep 9-man football, which is only played in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, is 399 yards set in 2000 by Seth Walter of Freeman, S.D. Arnold’s mark would crush Freeman’s accomplishment by a staggering 151 yards.
But that’s only one side of the story.
Stats from South Border’s sideline, compiled by sportswriter Francis Materi of the Wishek Star, however, have Arnold only rushing for a still incredible 396 yards on 29 carries and six rushing scores. Those stats would put Arnold just shy of the 399-yard record set by Walter.
In order for the 550-yard rushing record to stand Ellendale will have to submit the game to the North Dakota High School Activities Association for verification, which Hack said he will do at the end of the season.
The application, which will be accompanied by a congratulatory letter, will first be sent to the school from the National Federation of State High School Associations. Once completed and submitted to the state, the record would become valid only upon the state association’s approval.
Because one set of stats only has Arnold three yards short of the record, it’s quite possible he will be the new record holder once the game is verified. As far as Ellendale’s statisticians accounting for 154 yards more than what Materi came up with, Hack said he can only go with the numbers he’s provided.
“All I can do is take what my girls have on the sidelines,” Hack said. “Are they right, who knows? I can’t control anyone else’s stats.”
Hack pointed to the seven rushing touchdowns Ellendale attributed to Arnold. According to Ellendale’s stats, Arnold had touchdown runs of 5, 45, 69, 4, 15, 63 and 45 yards that when added up would already account for 246 yards on the ground for Arnold.
Materi only scored Arnold as rushing for six touchdowns in the game, which is also a critical stat because seven rushing touchdowns would play a factor in two other 9-man national records. According to Materi, Arnold’s first touchdown run was fumbled in the end zone and recovered by Ellendale’s Taylar Hack. Materi credited Hack with the score and not Arnold.
Seth Walter and Tony Pratt of Starbuck, Minn., are currently tied for the national single-game rushing touchdowns record with seven scores. Pratt is also the current national single-game record holder in points with 42, which he set in 1985.
If Arnold is credited with only six touchdowns he’d be tied with Pratt at 42 points for the national record, but seven scores would give Arnold the single-game points record with 48 points and tie him with Walter and Pratt for the national record in rushing touchdowns.
With all of the question marks surrounding Arnold’s big night, it’s pretty safe to say the North Dakota High School Activities Association will probably be taking a good look at the game before any new records are handed out.
National records aside, Arnold and the Cardinal’s offense were impressive against the Mustangs.
“It was an outstanding effort that night by everyone involved,” Hack said. “It was one of those evenings where everything fell into place and we ran with it, literally, ran with it.”
Hack explained Arnold broke tackles and took advantage of a few missed take downs by South Border during the game, but said the senior running back wouldn’t have been able to run for the amount of yards he did without the offensive line and the Ellendale blockers out front making holes.
“That’s where it all starts in football. You have to have the blocking so the backs can run,” Hack said. “(Arnold’s) a big strong kid and he’s going to break some tackles. He’s very capable of carrying ball.”
The Cardinals are currently 3-2 on the season and are 2-1 in Region 1 play. Ellendale will be on the road taking on Kidder County Friday night.
Kidder County is currently 3-1 overall this year and are also 2-1 in Region 1 play. Hack said his team has put the game against South Border on the backburner for now, and are focused on the remaining games ahead of them this season.
“We’ve kind of put it behind us. We need to get ready for the next team we play,” Hack said. “At the appropriate time, I’ll take a look at it.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by e-mail at email@example.com