PEARL RIVER, Louisiana – It was fitting that quarterback Arch Manning broke his uncle Eli Manning’s Newman High School passing yards record at Rebel Stadium Friday night.
Arch’s grandfather Archie Manning – still considered the greatest Ole Miss Rebel of all – was right there in the stands when it happened, along with his wife Olivia. She was Ole Miss’ homecoming queen in 1970 when Archie was a senior. They’ll be watching when No. 14 Ole Miss hosts No. 7 Kentucky on Saturday at noon eastern on ESPN.
Eli, who became Ole Miss’ all-time career passing yards leader from 2000-03, was not in Pearl River, but you can bet he has heard about what happened. So has former Newman quarterback Peyton Manning, whose career prep touchdown record was established before he went to Tennessee. That fell at the hands of his talented nephew.
In a way, Archie’s oldest son Cooper, who signed a scholarship to play at Ole Miss before a spinal condition ended his career, also beat his two younger brothers Peyton and Eli, who each won two Super Bowls in the NFL. Cooper is Arch’s dad.
“I’m not going to call Peyton or Eli,” Cooper laughed after the game, which Newman of uptown New Orleans won 52-22 to improve to 4-1 on the season. “I’m going to let them find out on their own.”
“I might call them and catch up,” Arch said.
Actually, he’s already caught them, and he did it in style.
Arch, a senior who committed to Texas over the summer as the No. 1 prospect in the nation, completed 17 of 28 passes for 356 yards and seven touchdowns Friday night. He threw three TDs in the first quarter from 3, 38 and 45 yards as Newman built a 24-0 lead and five by halftime as the Greenies took a 38-0 lead. His last touchdown of the half was from 70 yards out to wide receiver Peter Loop. He added two more in the second half before leaving with 7:55 to play in the game.
“It’s pretty cool to break my uncles’ records,” Arch said. “I’ve been here for a while. We haven’t talked about the records much, but I’m sure they’re proud of me. And I look up to them, so it’s been fun how they paved the way for me. And now I’m playing where they played in high school.”
Newman head coach Nelson Stewart did not heed Eli Manning’s advice and instead stuck with his spread, passing attack.
“Eli texted me to say I should switch to the power option for the rest of the season to keep his record,” Stewart said.
Arch entered the game with 7,158 yards in his Newman career, trailing Eli’s 7,268. He is now No. 1 at 7,514 with four regular season games to go. Arch trailed Peyton’s career touchdown pass record of 94 by one coming in, and now has an even 100.
Tough day for Eli and Peyton, Archie was asked.
“I don’t keep up with all that,” he said. “I like how he keeps improving and helping his team win.”
Cooper agreed. “He is improving,” he said. “He gets better every game.”
Manning throws hard, tight spirals on his intermediate and deep balls, and possesses a soft touch like his grandfather on the short throws.
“He has elite arm talent,” Stewart said. “And he does keep getting better. His poise, how he handles the pocket, everything he does. He’s a total quarterback. He has great footwork, great attention to detail. He’s a leader. And you just see him growing up.”
Stewart gave Manning the game ball as he spoke to the team after the game.
“We don’t always highlight individuals, because football is a team game,” Stewart said. “But we have to tonight. In my lifetime, these are numbers that Arch is putting up that will never be approached here. He works his butt off, and he does everything right.”
Arch Manning walked off surrounded by teammates after pretending to interview one of his classmates.
“It’s been a fun senior year,” he said. “And I’m ready to keep it going.”