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Haven set amazing scoring mark in 1927

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In a performance that still defies conventional logic, on November 16, 1927, the Haven (Kansas) High School football team did what no other 11-player football team has ever done.

It scored 256 points in a regulation 48-minute high school football game.

And remarkably, some 84 years later, that mark still stands.

The final score of the game was Haven High School 256, Sylvia (Kansas) High School 0. It was played on Haven’s home field.

Haven, which currently has a population of 1,237, was less than half that in 1927. Today, it is known for its rich farming industry and is home to four manufacturing firms, which is very unusual for a community that size.

Back then, most of the students at Haven High School were farm kids, and playing football probably ran second to doing their chores.

Nonetheless, on that fateful day in 1927, this team from a small Kansas farming community located on K-96 Highway about 25 miles northwest of Wichita did the amazing as it forever etched its name into the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) National High School Sports Record Book.

In that contest, the athletic and speedy Wildcats scored 38 touchdowns and kicked 28 extra points, and they scored every time they had the ball.

And if the rest of the season was any indication, this wasn’t a one-time fluke for the Wildcats, as they outscored their seven other opponents, 323-0. Coached by Buell Hunter, they averaged 72.4 points per game for the season and their closest game was a still-comfortable 27-0 victory.

According to the National High School Sports Record Book, the No. 2 spot on the single-game scoring list belongs to Staunton (Illinois) High School, which tallied 233 points in its game with Gillespie (Illinois) High School on November 23, 1923. Three other teams have scored more than 200 points, but none have surpassed Haven’s amazing offensive output.

To put this in perspective and to compare it other levels of competition, Georgia Tech scored 222 points in 1916 to set the NCAA Division I record (before NCAA records were officially kept in 1937). Fort Valley (Georgia) State University scored 106 points in 1969 to set the “Modern-day NCAA Division I” record. In 1949, the University of Wyoming scored 103 points to set the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division 1-A) record, and Portland (Oregon) State University scored 105 points in 1980 to claim the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division 1-AA) mark. Rockford (Illinois) College scored 105 points in 2003 for the Division III record.

At the NFL level, it’s not even close, as the most points ever scored in a game were the 73 tallied by the Chicago Bears in their shutout win over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 championship game.

In all fairness, it was a bit of a mismatch. Haven was a powerhouse offensive team that shut out all eight of its opponents that fall. Meanwhile, Sylvia was a school with a smaller enrollment that had just started its football program that year and as such fielded a very young and inexperienced team. In an act of good sporting behavior, Haven put in its second team in the second half.

The star player for Haven in the game was Elvin McCoy, who played running back and kicker. He scored 13 touchdowns and 12 extra points to give him 90 points for the contest. That performance still ranks as the record for most points scored by a player in an 11-player football game, according to the National High School Sports Record Book. After high school, McCoy went on to become a star player at Emporia (Kansas) State University.

It wasn’t a total one-man show, however, as providing McCoy considerable offensive support was team captain Jesse Atkinson, who scored 60 points.

Despite occurring in an era way before the Internet and national mass media coverage as we know it today, the game was reported in newspapers across the nation. In addition, it was featured in “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!”

According to Haven High School Alumni Association President Harland Priddle, this remarkable record is an ongoing subject of conversation.

“There is a great deal of pride in this record,” Priddle said. “It is a topic of discussion at every all-school reunion. There are still alumni who had brothers playing on the team. In fact, the city itself was presented a proclamation celebrating its 125th anniversary. One of the items in the proclamation referenced this event.

“With each new football season, this topic surfaces. Last year at the annual alumni all-school reunion, the entire team circled around one of our alumni and looked at the article in the Hutchinson News and asked many questions about the event.”

The old adage is “Records are meant to be broken.” With 84 years already behind it and how football is played today, Haven High School’s record just might defy that axiom.

“With the nature of football game plans of today, I doubt this record will ever be broken,” Priddle surmised. “This record is one that stands alone at the top with little chance of ever being broken.”

Within the NFHS’ membership of state high school associations, 16 of them currently have a so-called “mercy rule,” whereby if one team gains a particular point differential over the other team, the game is terminated. In addition, 32 states utilize a running clock once a particular point differential is reached. Through these two safeguard measures designed to ensure good sporting behavior, it is virtually impossible that such a one-sided contest could ever be played again. 

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Copyright ©2011 National Federation of State High School Associations. All Rights Reserved.

National Federation of State High School Associations
PO Box 690 • Indianapolis, IN 46206 • PHONE: 317.972.6900 • FAX: 317.822.5700

  

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