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Projecting potential scenarios for Pius X quarterback A.J. Long’s career passing totals

Written by: on Sunday, October 30th, 2011. Follow Josh Funk on Twitter.

 

Last season, Pius X quarterback A.J. Long established what is believed to be Pennsylvania’s single-season passing yardage record for a freshman.

Now, as only a sophomore, he’s more than halfway toward the state’s career record for passing yardage.

In Pius X’ 46-0 victory over Carson Long Saturday afternoon in very snowy conditions, Long put up 158 yards on an efficient 11-of-13 day, which moved him above the 5,000-yard plateau for career passing yardage. The Royals’ sophomore currently sits at 5,054 yards, having connected on 338-of-510 passes to go along with 55 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

There are eight active quarterbacks spread throughout Pennsylvania who have thrown 50 or more touchdown passes in their careers, but Long is the only sophomore. Of the remaining seven, only one other is an underclassman, and that quarterback is Port Allegany junior Matt Bodamer, who has 65 career touchdown passes.

To date, Long has played in 21 career varsity football games for Pius X, posting a 16-5 (.761) overall record and averaging 240.7 passing yards per game. It’s the career per-game average that is most important in figuring out Long’s pace for potential career projections, of course, barring any setbacks or injuries. There are a lot of unknowns that can happen between a sophomore and senior season, and the following numbers are merely hypotheticals to how things could play out if Long goes through his career unscathed.

Last season, Long ended his freshman season averaging 237.7 passing yards per game in 12 games, leaving him on pace for 11,409 yards in his career, assuming Pius only played 12 games each of Long’s four seasons, or the equivalent of reaching the District 11 Class A championship game four years in a row. Now that his career pace has bumped up by three full yards, and using the projection based on 12 games per season, Long’s career tally increases to 11,553 yards.

Assuming Pius X wins the District 11 A championship this season, it would draw the District 1 A champion (a likely victory) and face either the District 2 or 4 champion in the PIAA quarterfinals. At his current 2011 season pace of 244.7 yards per game, Long would be perched at 3,181 yards through 13 games. Thus, through 25 career games, Long would have 6,033 career yards, a slight uptick to an average 241.3 yards per game.

At that pace, and assuming Pius X played at least 13 games and played to the quarterfinals in each of Long’s junior and senior seasons at the 241.3 yards per game average, he would post consecutive seasons in the neighborhood of 3,136 yards, bringing his career total, when it is all said and done, to a potential 12,305 yards.

But what if Pius played a full 16 weeks this 2011 season and reached the PIAA finals? At his 2011 season average of 244.7 yards per game, Long would, through 15 weeks, have 3,670 yards to his credit, giving him a possible career total of 6,522 yards entering the PIAA title game for an average of 241.5 yards per game over 27 career games.

If the proposal to shorten the state’s football season to one week goes through on a third and final reading, and Long maintained his potential 241.5 yards per game average through his junior and senior seasons for 14 weeks each, he’d enter Week 15 of each season in the 3,381-yard ballpark figure, which, added on to the 6,522 yards already accumulated, would put him in the 13,000-yard club – 13,284 career yards, to be exact.

Keep this in mind….the 13,284 yards is a projection based on Pius X reaching three consecutive PIAA championship games, but not including that trio of contests. So his numbers would likely be higher, assuming things played out as potentially projected and the PIAA approved a shorter football season beginning in the 2012-’13 cycle.

The current state records for career passing yardage (9,752 yards by Brockway’s Derek Buganza) and career touchdown passes (118 by Lancaster Catholic’s Kyle Smith) could be dwarfed by the time Long completes his Pius X career.

But, for now, Long is sitting on 5,054 yards and 55 touchdowns. One game still remains in Pius X’ 2011 regular season before the District 11 A playoffs begin, so only time will tell how far the Royals’ season will last into November (and possibly December).

In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. A.J. Long could take us on quite a memorable one.

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