Yulee (Fla.) coach Bobby Ramsay said that his team would be in trouble if star running back Derrick Henry didn't set the national career rushing record by halftime of tonight's 4A playoff game against Taylor County (Perry, Fla.).
Henry, a senior who entered the game 102 yards shy of surpassing Ken Hall's 59-year-old mark of 11,232 yards, barely needed more than a quarter to take over the top spot.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Alabama commit set the record in impressive fashion, on a 52-yard touchdown run with 11:16 remaining in the second quarter that gave Yulee a 7-0 lead. He finished with 482 yards on 58 carries, including six touchdowns in the Hornets’ 41-26 win. As if to prove he’s human, Henry also lost a fumble.
“To be the all-time rushing leader, it’s just something that hasn’t hit me yet,” Henry told USA TODAY Sports earlier this week. “It will be an honor. People wait all their lives to do things like this, and it could be something I actually accomplish by the end of this game.”
Hall, who set what some considered to be an unbreakable record at Sugar Land (Texas) from 1950-53, said he's happy for Henry.
"When something’s lasted this long of course there’s some degree of it being a little bittersweet, but I want him to break it and go on and break even more records. Hopefully I’ll be able to shake his hand one day soon.”
Henry will have a chance to add to his record total, which now stands at 11,613 yards, in next week's regional final against East Gadsden (Fla.). Eclipsing 12,000 yards in that game is a very real possibility. Beyond that, a run to the state championship game would mean two additional games for Henry and the Hornets.
Might Henry's record stand for another 59 years? It seems unlikely. Nine of the top 10 rushers on the all-time list entered high school in 2000 or later, which makes Hall's long-standing record all the more impressive.