Upon further review ... the replay shows us that Downey High's Jason Lee has indeed set the state record for most passing yards in the regular season.
The Knights' prolific senior was 539 yards from the state record of 3,963 yards entering Friday's finale vs. Johansen.
It looked as if Lee was short of the record, as post-game stats had him at 476 yards. A twist in the offense, though, helped put Lee over the top.
"We changed our sweep, so the receiver in motion takes a shovel pass instead of a handoff," Downey coach Jeremy Plaa said. "It wasn't to build his stats, it was because the receivers had to slow down to take the handoff. The shovel pass lets them go full speed."
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Those plays were recorded as runs Friday, but on the video they are clearly passes. If the ball had been dropped, it would have been incomplete.
There also were a few traditional passes that weren't on the stat sheet -- when a quarterback throws it 63 times, it's easy to miss a few tosses.
Because of the yardage discrepancy, and the possibility of a prominent state record being broken, CalHiSports.com executive editor Mark Tennis requested that a neutral party review the film.
The Bee and Plaa sat down Monday morning to watch every play multiple times to confirm the yardage, and its statistics coincided with Plaa's.
As a result, Lee was 49 of 63 for 548 yards -- for a regular-season record of 3,972 yards. Pacific Palisades' Davis Koral had set the record in 2000.
"I knew I was close, but I didn't realize just how close," said Lee, who fired a 66-yard TD pass to Corey Keller the second play of the game. "If I had known, I don't think it would have changed the way I played because every play was crucial in a tight game."
Lee's 49 completions set a state single-game record, and he set regular-season records of 297 completions and 469 attempts. His 548-yard effort is 11th on the state's all-time single-game list: Koral had a record 764-yard game in 2000.
He can't own every record.
Approaching the 4,000-yard mark amazes even Lee, who exploited passive defenses by firing short passes to his receivers and letting them run.
If asked at the start of the season how many yards he expected to get, Lee said, "probably around 2,500."
He wasn't the varsity starter until halfway through his junior season, but looked like a veteran running Downey's spread offense this fall. With four- and five-receiver formations, he took snaps out of the shotgun and a quick release allowed him to limit sacks.
"A lot of my throws were under 10 yards, and my receivers broke tackles and used blocks from other receivers to get a lot of those yards," said Lee, who connected on 63.3 percent of his passes.
Lee's receivers also enjoyed record-setting years, as Javon Kelly's 105 receptions set a state record for regular-season catches, and his 1,565 receiving yards was a section mark, with playoffs included.
He also knew what to do after he caught it: His 20 TDs made him No. 1 in the state.
Kelly, who had not played football prior to this season, used speed to run past defenders who covered him to closely and agility in the open field to evade would-be tacklers.
He also caught many of his short passes while in stride.
"That helped me accelerate quickly and get more yards," the 6-foot-2, who caught four TDs in three separate games.
It also helped having Corey Keller running patterns. A senior who hadn't played since his freshman year, he caught 103 passes for 1,471 yards and eight TDs in just nine games.
"Javon was more of a speed player and he can make plays out of night," Keller noted. "I was more of a workhorse, a situational guy. My strengths would be my hands for sure, and I'm fast, but I still need to do more work on blocking."
From a statistical perspective, Lee benefited by playing on a team that surrendered 49 points a game. Since Downey was frequently trailing, Plaa had little choice but to throw.
Downey finished at 2-8, but Lee and his receivers made it the most exciting 2-8 team in the state. Five times he threw for at least 450 yards, and he ran for 439 yards to average 441 yards of offense.
Despite a record season, the three are unlikely to receive offers from Division I schools -- Kelly and Keller are both about 6-foot-2 but have academic challenges, while Lee's 5-11, short for a quarterback.
Kelly and Keller expect to play for a junior college next season. Both want to stay in a spread offense, while playing in a spread is Lee's best opportunity to continue playing.
"No one's been negative when they talk about him, but no one's ready to give a scholarship to a 5-11 quarterback right now," Plaa said."You have schools thinking they have their quarterback, but commitments change. He has a shot."
Bee staff writer Rich Estrada can be reached at (209) 578-2300 or email@example.com.