Tales from the Record Book
Record Book

Posted Sep 15, 2002

This weekly feature from Student Sports records and rankings editor Doug Huff focuses on the feats and people behind the statistics listed in the Student Sports National High School Football record Book. This week, take a look at a feat credited for three decades to the late Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth's single season major league home run record.

When Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's major league record by belting 61 home runs in 1961, historians decided an asterisk was appropriate for the new standard.


Maris played in a 162-game season instead of the 143-game format when Ruth set his record for the same New York Yankees team in 1927.

The asterisk was later removed by Major League Baseball.

Now, a long-accepted high school football record credited to Maris needs not only an asterisk but a new catetory, as well.

Maris has been listed over the last 30 years in various reports with returning four kickoffs for touchdowns for Shanley High of Fargo, N.D., in a 33-20 win over Devils Lake High on Sept. 28, 1951.

The reported feat intrigued Bob Fulton, a sports writer from Indiana, Pa., who decided to research the 'record' for a possible story.

While in Fargo to cover a college football game for his newspaper, he visited the local Fargo Forum paper to check out the Maris mark on newspaper microfilm.

What he discovered was that Maris did score four touchdowns on returns in that game...but only two were on kickoff returns of 88 and 90 yards.

Maris also scored on a 45-yard punt return and a 25-yard pass interception return and added a fifth score on a 32-yard run from scrimmage.

For three decades, the feat of four touchdowns on returns has been misconstrued as four kickoff return TDs.

With the effort finally clarified by Fulton, now the search is on for a record listing for the most kickoff touchdown returns in a game.

There is documentation that Brent Fullwood of St. Clud, Fla., returned three for scores in a 47-28 win against Leesburg, Fla., in 1982. The returns covered 94, 91 and 84 yards.

Any other nominations?

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