Of all the great single-game receiving performances in recent times, few can compete with the one turned in during Washington (Ind.) High's 46-23 victory against Bloomington (Ind.) North High by wide receiver Gehrig Dieter. Of Washington's 46 points, Dieter personally accounted for 30.
In fact, according to WNDU.com, the South Bend Tribune and a handful of other Indiana news sources, Dieter finished with five touchdowns and a state-record 373 receiving yards in his squad's first game of the season, good for the most single-game receiving yards in Indiana state history … and the eighth most all time.
"This whole week of practice, we were kind of sloppy on offense," Dieter told the South Bend Tribune. "Coming into the game, I was kind of worried. Once we got into the game, the offensive line blocked great for our quarterback, and [sophomore quarterback Daigien Morgan] just put it out there where it needs to be. We had a good first play of the game with [running back David Perkins] taking it 85 for a touchdown, and then we just exploded after that."
While many could share in the credit for Dieter's unstoppable performance, perhaps no one deserved as much thanks as Morgan, who turned in an impressive varsity debut by passing for Dieter's five touchdowns and a whopping 401 yards. Add in Notre Dame-recruit Perkins' 126 yards on the ground and Washington was practically unstoppable on offense, no matter how it decided to attack.
For his part, Washington coach Antwon Jones is convinced that Dieter's breakout performance is just the start of what should prove to be a very big season for the Panthers and their fans.
"We've always had the capability for big plays," Jones said. "Not that we didn't have offensive lines, but we finally have real offensive linemen (Byron Orvis, Braelon Wilkens, Dustin Dennig, Michael Taylor and Terrance Bush). In the past, we've had guys who fought their butts off, but they were undersized. Now, we have size, so we're going to be able to do a lot of things.
"We really didn't go into our offensive packages like we wanted to," Jones said. "We had some conditioning, and we'll get that fixed. We also had some injuries, so when we get those guys back, we should be able to open off the offense and get it fired up."
The idea that the Washington offense still needs to be "opened up" has to send a chill down the spine of defensive coordinators across Indiana, and a thrill for the likes of Dieter. After all, he's already recorded a haul in one game that some receivers would be happy with for a season total.