Atholton senior running back Matt Winger said Friday's 340-yard rushing performance -- on only 16 carries -- wasn't the first time he'd had a game for the record books.
"I do that playing video games all the time," he said after scoring four touchdowns en route to setting the school mark against Rockville. "I created myself and my whole Atholton team and we just run over teams, so when I did it in real life it felt like I was playing 'Madden NFL 06.' "
But there was nothing virtual about what Winger did in leading his team to a 40-22 victory over the Rams. On the first play of the game, Winger took a handoff from junior Brett McQuilkin and followed fullback Patrick Hayden into the hole between right tackle Sonny Mazzullo and guard Stanley Onyimba before bouncing outside for a 77-yard touchdown. After Rockville punted, Atholton Coach Chuck Fales called the same play and Winger provided a replay, running untouched for an 80-yard score.
In the second quarter, Winger took a handoff and followed Hayden up the middle. As Hayden blocked the linebacker, Winger bounced outside for a 65-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, Winger took a pitch and swept right. He picked up two blocks along the sideline and then cut across the field -- picking up two more blocks in the process -- during a 45-yard scoring run in which he became the first Raider to score four touchdowns in a game.
"I took him out after the third quarter because if I would have left him in, he would have run for more than 400 yards," Fales said. "What Matt did was just amazing. Every time we gave him the ball he made something big happen."
Winger, who broke the school's single-game rushing record of 210 yards set by Ricky Trott in 1995, said that if he had finished the game, he could have broken the state record, which is 446 yards set by Hancock's Sam Hess against St. James in 1998.
"I would have gotten at least 450, and with the way my team was blocking, there's no telling how many yards I would have had," said Winger, who has rushed for 428 yards on 37 carries this season. "The way my team blocked for me was incredible."