Regent Prep’s season came to a heartbreaking end last year after the Rams lost to Shattuck in the Class B state championship game. Once the bitterness of the defeat wore off, wide receiver Jack Wright made an interesting discovery. He was nearing the national high school record for career touchdown catches.
The previous record was set by Kirby Moore of Prosser, Washington. Moore, the younger brother of Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, went on to play at Boise State after catching 95 touchdown passes in his prep career. Wright ended his junior season with 86.
“My dad and I looked at it over the summer and knew I was getting close, but I kind of dismissed it,” admitted Wright. “When I was within five or six I started thinking about it. I just wanted to get it done as fast as possible. It was an awesome experience. It really meant a lot to not only break the record but to even be in that company.”
Wright broke the record on October 11th with two TD catches in a 55-6 win over Watts. Heading into the Class B quarterfinals, he has amassed 109 career touchdown receptions and could potentially play as many as three more games.
Wright, who has committed to play at North Dakota next season, has picked up where he left off after a standout junior season. Thanks to the standout play of quarterback Braden Gilbert, Wright recorded 81 catches for 1,843 yards and 34 touchdowns a year ago. He’s followed that up with 30 catches for 877 yards and 20 TDs so far this season.
Gilbert etched his name in the record books last year after setting national eight-man records with 4,065 passing yards and 63 touchdown passes.
“It’s been a great season,” said Wright. “Yeah, the numbers are a tad down but I think it’s because the team has gotten so much better. I think it’s just a credit to the team and how we have so many weapons. I’m not too worried about individual stuff. This team is a great team and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
“He’s a high character young man,” said head coach Adam Bishop of Wright. “I have three young boys in elementary school at Regent, and he’s the kind of guy I want my kids to look up to.”
“On the field, he has improved so much,” added Bishop, who’s in his ninth season at Regent Prep in Tulsa. “He’s always a threat to score offensively. He’s a leader. He also plays on the defensive side of the ball a lot.”
For those detractors that think Wright’s numbers are so good simply because he plays eight-man football, Bishop believes he would be a difference maker on any team in the state.
“He spends all summer going to these camps and he plays against the 6A kids in Oklahoma. He’s a Blue-Gray All-American and went to their combine and played against the best players in the country and he’s able to get open and get separation. His straight line speed is really good, but what really separates him is he has incredibly great change of direction.”
“I think there’s a bit of a stigma about an 8-man player,” claimed Wright, who likes to model his game New England Patriot receiver Justin Edelman. “I know, myself, I feel as if I’m capable of playing at any level. I feel like a lot of our guys could be playing at bigger places and making an impact.”
Regent Prep lost just two seniors from last year’s state runner-up squad. With ten seniors on this year’s roster, the Rams have been making quick work of their opponents. Ten of their 12 games this season have been over at halftime due to the eight-man mercy rule.
The Rams have outscored their opponents 676-46 and have not allowed an opponent to score more than one touchdown in a game.
Regent Prep continues its march towards another Class B state title appearance this week with a quarterfinal matchup against Alex. Two more wins and a potential rematch with Shattuck in the championship game awaits.
“Absolutely,” said Gilbert of the potential title rematch. “We want every bit of that. We believe that we can get there and we believe that we can win. We’re all fired up about it and we’re ready for some revenge.”
“There’s more than one team that’s deserving of winning the state championship every year,” remarked Bishop. “Good teams are going to play each other and you have to make some plays. We like to prepare every week like it’s a state championship game.”
“When we got together in the spring we said we were going to do whatever it takes this year to make it all the way and finish strong,” said Wright. “We would have loved to have won and have the chance to go back-to-back, but I think the loss definitely put an edge to this team.”