“The sky’s the limit”: Sophomore Ja’Marion Wayne breaks 52-year-old school yardage record


Pete Ferretti

Hustling on the field, sophomore Ja’Marion Wayne breaks records at the Mayor’s Cup football game Oct. 17. Wayne broke two school records for rushing yards and all purpose yardage. “That record stood for 52 years, and he hit it as a sophomore. I think his ceiling is very high,” assistant football coach Zaven Nalbandian said.

Under Thursday night lights at the Mayor’s Cup football game Oct. 17, sophomore Ja’Marion Wayne carried the ball 463 yards, breaking a record set in 1968, the school’s first year.

The first record was for rushing yards: the total number of yards gained by a single player as the result of a rushing play where the player carries the ball. The second record was all purpose yards, which is a combined total of rushing yards, receiving yards and return yards. 

“[The record for rushing yards] was set in 2004 by a young man named Chris Jackson in a game against Troy High School–he rushed 278 yards. Ja’Marion broke that and rushed for 310 yards,” assistant football coach Zaven Nalbandian said. “The other record [for all purpose yardage] was set in 1968 by Dean Morton, who had a game record of 329 yards and Ja’Marion broke that in a total yardage record of 463 yards.” 

The goal we have for him is to be the best high school player he can be. I can see him breaking his own records, and the sky’s the limit,”

— Assistant football coach Melvin Bethany

Though Wayne typically plays wide receiver, he broke the two records in a position he does not often play: running back. 

“Normally, those records are set by guys who are straight running backs, but he’s a wide receiver who we’re trying to get into a position where he can play some running back. He’s doing all of these things in a position he isn’t used to, which is pretty impressive,” Nalbandian said. 

While Wayne was unaware of the records previously held, his accomplishments have motivated him to break more.

“It just kind of happened–I didn’t know about the record. I was just going with the flow,” Wayne said. “I’m ready to break more records, and I’m going to look into more.” 

Assistant coach Melvin Bethany believes the most important record for Wayne to break is his own and has goals for him to continue being a leader in the program. 

“The goal we have for him is to be the best high school player he can be. I can see him breaking his own records, and the sky’s the limit,” Bethany said. “I think he can impact other athletes in the way he carries himself. He doesn’t seem to get a big head and embraces the moment of what he does and shows athletes to have fun no matter what the outcome is.”

Wayne said his personal goal is to continue to “go with the flow” and work hard.

“Knowing my name is up there as a record in the school is amazing,” Wayne said. “I have to work harder and can’t go backwards; I have to go forwards.”