Blake James entered Friday night’s season finale against Arnold three scores shy of breaking former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel’s 20-year old record for most touchdown passes in a season at Fort Walton Beach.
It took the senior quarterback, who got his start at Destin Middle School, just over a quarter of play to get the job done.
James tied the record on the final play of the first quarter with a 12-yard strike to Marquese Davenport and broke the mark one drive later with a 48-yard pass to senior Chris Bauduin, eclipsing Wuerffel’s total of 27 scoring passes, set in 1992.
James would add another score, a 74-yarder to Bauduin, to finish the night with nine completions for 221 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Vikings to a convincing 48-6 win over the visiting Marlins.
Destin Middle School Coach Ron Griffiths. who was there to watch it all unfold. said, “It was pretty cool deal to have a kid that got his start in our program.”
Griffiths said he went down on the field after the game and congratulated James, who ended his senior season with 2,222 yards and 29 touchdowns.
“He became a lot bigger at Fort Walton Beach,” Griffiths said. “But the one thing I remember most about Blake was he always threw a pretty pass. He threw with velocity and a good touch.”
After the realization of the accomplishment, James said, “It feels awesome.
“First, the credit has to start with the offensive line. And I couldn’t throw any touchdowns if my receivers weren’t doing their jobs. I just have a great group of guys around me, and it feels good to share this with them.”
The twist in the senior’s chase for the record is that everyone present at Steve Riggs Stadium knew he was close to breaking Wuerffel’s record. Everyone, that is, except for James himself.
“Nobody told me I was close to breaking the record,” said James. “They kept it a secret from me. When I threw the pass, I heard the announcer come over the P.A. system and say that I had done it. I couldn’t believe it.”