Thursday, September 23, 2021

Longest rushing touchdown in a title game


NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, DeKALB (Nov. 28) — Ivory Kelly-Martin, a 5'11" junior running back at Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Illinois, had four rushing touchdowns in the Class 5A state title game this morning, including a 96-yard run in the second quarter, the longest touchdown run in IHSA state finals history.

Ivory Kelly-Martin of Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, Illinois, found a gap over right tackle in the state Class 5A title game & dashed up the right sideline to the end zone
Kelly-Martin found a gap over right tackle & dashed up the right sideline to the end zone. (more Voxitatis pics)

“My line was opening up the holes,” the Chicago Tribune quoted him as saying about how the team played in their 42-21 state championship victory over Lincoln-Way West. “And I know what to do once I get to the second level.”

The run was the first (and only) play from scrimmage on Nazareth’s first drive of the second quarter, which began with 9:44 on the game clock after a Lincoln-Way West punt was downed at the 4-yard line. Quarterback Carson Bartels took the snap and handed off to Kelly-Martin, who found an opening over the right tackle.

Records for longest rushing touchdown, by class, in a state final game:

  • [Class 1A] 81 yards, Kenton Patrick, Carthage vs. Arcola, 1995
  • [Class 2A] 82 yards, Caleb Pratt, Westville vs. Dakota, 2007
  • [Class 3A] 94 yards, Jay Buckner, Anna-Jonesboro vs. Marquette (Ottawa), 1984
  • [Class 4A] 94 yards, Dave Schwabe, Driscoll (Addison) vs. Central Catholic (Bloomington), 2007
  • [Class 5A] 71 yards, Ty Isaac, Joliet Catholic Academy vs. Montini (Lombard), 2011
  • [Class 6A] 91 yards, Brandon Hughes, Bloomington vs. Carmel (Mundelein), 2003
  • [Class 7A] 63 yards, Dominic Sulo, Mt. Carmel (Chicago) vs. Prospect (Mt. Prospect), 2005
  • [Class 8A] 76 yards, Matt Perez, Maine South (Park Ridge) vs. Marist (Chicago), 2009

Kelly-Martin carried the ball 12 additional times in the game, gaining 170 yards total for his Roadrunners in their second consecutive football title, last year’s coming in Class 6A.

State championship game scores

Only the Class 7A game was close during this championship weekend or reasonably expected to be so, based on our mathematical models. However, Crete-Monee held off Montini’s power for at least the first half in Class 6A.

Here are the final scores of the championship games:

Note that Wendell Phillips Academy in Class 4A is a public coed high school with an enrollment of 559. The IHSA doesn’t apply a multiplier to “magnet” or lottery schools but does for “private” high schools, like Althoff Catholic in Class 4A. Phillips Academy has students from more than 70 different ZIP Codes in Chicago and doesn’t use geographical boundaries to restrict enrollment.

In large urban districts like Chicago, which is the third-largest school district in the country, the lines between “public” and “private” get a little blurry. But as far as we know, this is the first IHSA title in football for a school within the Chicago Public Schools district.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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