TXHSFB 303: Texas high school football’s most prolific passers

Taking a deep dive into the hidden storylines of the 2016 Texas high school football season.
Photo by Richard Badillo

Photo by Richard Badillo

Over the course of January, TexasFootball.com presents The TXHSFB 303, a deep dive into the hidden storylines in the 2016 Texas high school football season. Have an idea for an angle? E-mail DCTF managing editor Greg Tepper.

Today: Texas high school football’s top passers in 2016

We may have reached a point of spread scheme saturation.

Year in and year out for the better part of the last two decades, Texas high school football has moved more and more to the aerial attack, with team after team increasing their passing game’s emphasis — and productivity.

But we are rapidly approaching — if we haven’t already gotten there — a level in which there is nowhere else to go as far as passing attacks. Yes, there are schematic differences to be had, but it is possible that this is the maximum number of teams in Texas high school football that will incorporate the pass-heavy spread.

Of course, that is simply speculation. For now, we are left to marvel at the gaudy numbers put up by the Texas high school football quarterbacks.

A caveat you should acquaint yourself with: Texas high school football statistics are not monolithic. Unlike the NFL or even college football, there is no one-stop shop for Texas high school football statistics. Some places, like our friends at MaxPreps, are better than most, but no place is perfect. I’ve tried my best to find every player’s numbers who should be mentioned here, but it is entirely possible that I missed somebody. If that is the case, please e-mail me and I’d be happy to amend the piece.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 statistical passers in Texas high school football in 2016.

Player School (Class) Pass Yards Pass YPG TDs INTs
Nick Gerber Levelland (4A DI) 5,617 401.2 77 8
Aaron Brown Gilmer (4A DII) 5,013 334.2 48 14
Grant Gunnell Houston St. Pius X (Private) 4,973 414.4 65 11
Chase Allison Robinson (4A DII) 4,659 388.3 59 7
Michael Everett Odem (3A DII) 4,362 335.5 58 8
Jake Smith Tyler TK Gorman (Private) 4,351 435.1 40 7
Diego Hernandez Mission Veterans Memorial (5A) 4,175 321.2 45 9
Brandon Steward Pampa (4A DI) 4,008 334 41 17
Charlie Brewer Lake Travis (6A) 3,927 245.4 54 3
Bailey Zappe Victoria East (5A) 3,770 369.3 37 9

All hail Nick Gerber, the king of gaudy passing numbers. The Levelland signal-caller was outrageous this season, setting state records for passing yards in a season (topping Refugio’s Travis Quintanilla from 2013, who threw for 5,557 yards in 16 games compared to Gerber’s 14), passing touchdowns in a season (upending Navasota’s Shelton Eppler from 2014, who threw for 71 scores in 16 games compared to Gerber’s 14) and passing touchdowns in a game, throwing for 13 scores in Levelland’s area round win over Decatur.

But don’t forget about Gilmer’s Aaron “Poppy” Brown, who burst on the scene as a junior to become just the fourth player in Texas high school football history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season.

Overall, four of the top 10 passers came from the Class 4A ranks, with two each coming from the private school ranks and Class 5A.

That includes the quietest stat monster of them all: Houston St. Pius X’s Grant Gunnell, who was razor-sharp for the Panthers in driving them to the TAPPS Division I state semifinals. His 65 touchdowns rank second in the state in 2016. Oh, and he was just a sophomore.

From a pinpoint accuracy perspective, it quite literally doesn’t get any better than Charlie Brewer, as the Lake Travis quarterback set a national record by completing 77.3 percent of his passes in guiding the Cavs to their sixth state title. His 18-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is second in the state behind only San Angelo Central’s Cal Vincent, who threw 42 touchdowns against just two interceptions.

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