During my four-plus decades of serving as the Decatur Tribune sports editor, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of chronicling the exploits of numerous brilliant and outstanding running backs and other gridders from the 12 football-playing schools we cover here each week. St. Teresa’s Jacardia Wright is the latest whose Bulldogs career is nearing completion with one state runnerup trophy in 2016 to show for his efforts to date. He wants his career to end with a state championship the day after Thanksgiving on Illinois’ Memorial Stadium artificial turf.
With three regular season and at least one playoff game left in his career, Wright already has his name firmly etched in the Illinois High School Association’s football record book in numerous categories. Brett Zerfowski, who has called Bulldogs games on Neuhoff Media’s WSOY 1340 for 10 years, assisted yours truly with coming up with these statistics. First, after six games this year and in 2015, 2016 and 2017, he has scored 750 points on 125 touchdowns, broken down they include 109 rushing, 10 receiving, two each punt, kickoff and pass interception returns. His 750 points place him fifth on the all-time career most points scored category, only one touchdown away now from fourth on the all-time list. Those 750 points moved him ahead of former Maroa-Forsyth standout brothers–Luke and Jack Hockaday, who had 642 and 546, respectively. The latter is now at Iowa where he is a starting linebacker in his senior season there which we highlighted in this space last week with comments from his head coach Kirk Ferentz.
The IHSA’s Matt Troha advised rushing, pass receiving, punt, kickoff and interception returns count for individual touchdowns scored. In addition, he moved ahead of Warrensburg-Latham’s Dionte Lewis in the career most touchdowns list with his 125 through his freshman (2015), sophomore (2016 their runnerup season), junior (2017) and the first six games of his senior season. Again, his total includes rushing, pass receiving, punt, kickoff and interception returns for touchdowns. Lewis graduated with 107 career touchdowns. His 125 touchdowns leaves him two away from third on the all-time list.
Unless the Bulldogs make a deep run in the playoffs, its doubtful he will break Sean Dunning’s St. Teresa single season touchdown scoring record of 49. In the individual rushing categories, Wright has 7,432 yards through his first six games this year and his previous three seasons which makes him the all-time St. Teresa leader, surpassing Sean Dunning, 6,048 yards. He’s going to need a monster game to surpass Maroa-Forsyth’s Billy McClure’s 498 in a single game which he did in 1986 against Niantic-Harristown (now Sangamon Valley) on 29 attempts.
To catch Dunning’s season rushing mark of 3,127 yards, Wright and his teammates will have to make a deep run in the playoffs. Dunning achieved those yards in 12 games on 327 attempts in 2005. He’s already fourth in rushing touchdowns scored in a career with 109 with those three regular season and at least one playoff game remaining.