In my articles I try to begin with some sort of historical reference or pithy thought, but to cover the most ground I’ll get right to it since this is a continuation of the previous article.
Last week I mentioned the elusive 100-yard game for Minden receivers and that it has happened only seventy-nine times in Minden’s history. Out of those seventy-nine instances, only seventeen of them occurred before 2005. However, the highly exclusive 200 receiving yard game deserves a bit more fanfare considering it has occurred only three times, involving only two players. When you contemplate Minden’s 113 years, 1,069 known games, and probably more than 1,000 total football players, this accomplishment is truly remarkable. Receivers don’t just “put on a clinic”; it usually involved a bit of desperation for Minden to throw the ball like that.
In 2012, Elgin Moore broke Greg Booker’s 2006 single game receiving record (183) with an incredible 221 receiving yard performance. Minden was having an abysmal year with an 0-5 record coming into that game, and the starting QB, Turner Francis, had missed a few games due to injury. Unfortunately, Minden lost that game, too, but Moore put on a show setting two records – receiving yards and catches (14). Just two weeks later, he posted 173 receiving yards in Minden’s only win that year.
Currently, the most popular MHS product is NFL Pro-Bowl candidate, L’Jarius Sneed. At Minden, Sneed split time on both sides of the ball and returned kicks, but he’s the other player to snag 200-yard’s worth of receiving. He did it TWICE in one season. In 2015, Sneed paired with record holding QB, Antonio Rivette, to put on an absolute show for the folks in attendance. In the back-and-forth contest, Rivette, on his way to a record 417 passing yards, hooked up with Sneed for a whopping 278 yards. It took Sneed just eight catches. If you’re doing the math at home, that’s almost thirty-five yards per reception. Did I mention that he also tied the school record with four receiving TDs that game? Three of those four TDs were dialing long distance – 78, 53, and 49 yards. Then in a playoff game, attempting to avoid elimination in yet another barn burner, Sneed was responsible for 250 of Rivette’s 279 passing yards. Sneed was certainly a big playmaker for the Tide. In his tenure at Minden, observing all phases of the game, Sneed scored a TD (31) every six times he touched the ball. I’ll let that one sink in a moment.
As I mentioned in the previous article, David Lee’s 1960 records of forty-six receptions and 685 receiving yards lasted all the way until Greg Booker’s head-turning product in 2006. Booker was the first Tide player to be named first team All-State since 1986. David Lee, Elgin Moore and L’Jarius Sneed all played in tandem with some of the most influential Minden QBs. Booker was no different tag teaming with T.Q. Mims to set records for receiving yards (1,191) and receiving TDs in a season (13). Although Booker tied David Lee’s reception total that year, he nearly doubled Lee’s receiving yards.
Like the frequency with which the passing records were broken upon the ramped-up Tide passing attack, so too went the receiving records. Just two years after Booker’s record-setting season, Jarome Walton set the new high-water mark for receptions in a season (50) in 2008 and then pushed his own record to sixty-two the very next year.
Then five years after Booker’s record-setting season, Jared Johnson made his contribution to the record books becoming the all-time leading receiver in Minden history. In 2011, Johnson set the current record for receptions (81), receiving yards (1,318) and receiving TDs (15) in a season. Jared Johnson made his on-field contributions mostly in two seasons, but it was enough for him to be the undisputed king of the pass-catchers. Johnson is the career leader in those major categories logging 142 catches for 2,444 yards and twenty-six TDs. He is the only Tide receiver to have 2,000+ career receiving yards and 25+ career receiving TDs respectively. He is almost 500 yards ahead of second place in career receiving yards.
Speaking of second place, ironically wearing jersey #2, Tavarius Edwards is the second leading receiver in most categories behind Johnson. Consistency was key in Edwards’ game. He’s the only player in Minden history to log 35+ catches and 600+ receiving yards in three consecutive years. His receptions and yardage totals from season to season might not yield shock and awe, but what is most shocking was his big play ability. Also hauling in passes from Rivette, Edwards had more receptions of forty-plus yards than any other receiver with fourteen. Booker had thirteen, Sneed had twelve, and Johnson had ten. So much for being number two.
This concludes our look at the who’s who in Minden receivers. For all the holes in receiving stats over the years, the next player group I’ll cover had the greatest lack of information available, and it’s for an entire side of the football: the Defense.