Justyn Martin and LaMelo Ball.
Two athletes with almost mythic high school scoring performances. Both are incredible feats, but they compel an inspection of how these offensive outbursts transpired and the level of competition each player faced on the nights these historic events occurred.
2022 UCLA commit Justyn Martin is the first quarterback in 100 years to throw for 13 touchdowns in a single game.
The four-star QB led Inglewood to a 106-0 victory to improve to 9-0 on the season.
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) October 30, 2021
Evaluations of either performance have to take into account the talent disparity between Melo and Martin’s teams and the competition they faced. One week ago Martin threw for thirteen touchdowns, the second-most in a single game in high school football history, and they came against a completely overwhelmed rival in a matchup of Los Angeles-area schools.
Martin plays for Inglewood High and the team it embarrassed 106-0 on Oct. 29 was less-heralded Morningside High.
Martin surpassed Los Angeles Cathedral’s Robert De La Cruz (twice: 1998, 1999), Quinn Commans of Whittier Christian (2017) and former Inglewood QB Jared Haywood, breaking the shared record of nine touchdown passes on the final play of the first half.
He would obliterate that record by the time the final gun sounded.
Martin Tosses 13 Touchdown Passes
Martin is a four-star recruit headed to UCLA after choosing the Bruins over the likes of Oregon, Michigan and USC. He’s a possible starter for the Bruins and head coach Chip Kelly.
Last night, 2022 UCLA commit Justyn Martin became the first QB in 100 years to throw 13 TDs in a SINGLE GAME 🤯 @justyn_martin8
— Overtime (@overtime) October 30, 2021
But how impressive was that feat really?
If you can beat a team 106-0 and toss 13 touchdowns, that means you’re playing an opponent that shouldn’t be lined up on the field against you. Martin obviously has talent, as evinced by the Power 5 schools that offered the 6-foot-4 strong-armed gunslinger a full ride.
Another reason why the feat isn’t as impressive is the coach kept him in the game up 100 points against supremely inferior competition. You definitely can’t say the coach plays within “the spirit of the game.” Humiliating entire school communities is not consistent with the respect for the game that high school football promotes.
This feat can be likened to Alabama playing a team like Western Carolina in one of its out-of-conference games. Western Carolina is a far cry from the level of competion Alabama faces nationally. Huge wins against talent-deficient teams are never impressive to the polls or the fans because strength of schedule matters.
How does this compare to LaMelo Ball scoring 92 points as a sophomore at Chino Hills?
Ball went for 92 points in a basketball game in 2017 in his Chino Hills team’s 146-123 win over Los Osos High. Ball shot 37-for-61 overall and 7–for-22 from three to score the insane amount of points. The point total can also be a bit misleading as Ball played in a system that allows you to take any and every shot available. He also was cherry picking for a large part of the game. The system known as the “Grinnell System” is all about getting up as many shots as possible while playing up-tempo all game.
RT if LaMelo Ball's 92 point performance was disrespectful 🤔 pic.twitter.com/N4XtSCqeZq
— Overtime (@overtime) February 21, 2017
It is a variation of the run-and-gun system that Paul Westhead made popular at Loyola-Marymount in the 1980s. The system is designed to really wear out inferior teams, forcing them to play up-tempo and eventually get blown out of the gym.
Melo’s night evoked memories of Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble running up and down the floor and scoring 130 per night in that system.
Both feats are statistically historic, but much less memorable than a peformance against better competition, in a game of more significance would be. Most people have forgotten about Melo’s offensive explosion. He’s in the NBA and coming off a Rookie of the Year campaign. He’s not posting 90-plus point games, but he’s definitely a cut above the opposition on most nights. As far as Martin and his 13 TDs go, by his first snap at UCLA he will understand that Pac-12 competition is a bit harder than high school.