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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Carroll receiver Justin Becker brings his record pass-catching ability into tonight's Class 6A sectional championship game against Snider. He has 54 catches for 1,057 receiving yards this season.

Friday, November 03, 2017 1:00 am

Record guy all about team

Carroll's Becker more valuable than his numbers

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

It's easy to find Justin Becker's name when searching the Carroll football record books. Just look at the top.

But don't expect him to talk about it. And if you do get him to discuss his success, you'll find – without fail – his comments always circle back to the team.

“It just comes from a team standpoint,” Becker said. “It's really about the team. You try your hardest to do your best for the team. If you can help the team, that's beneficial to the team.”

Perhaps those words come across as cliché, but for the receiver who has shattered nearly every receiving record, according to coach Doug Dinan, it speaks to the legacy Becker will leave.

“His character as a student-athlete is tremendous,” Dinan said. “He's a hard-working guy, he's not boastful. He's not really concerned with these things. He doesn't ask where he's at; he doesn't want to know stat updates. He's more concerned with his teammates and the success of his teammates.”

Still, the numbers impress.

His 1,057 receiving yards this season easily surpassed the previous record of 884, while his 2,377 career receiving yards stand nearly 1,000 higher than the second-place total of 1,390.

He's easily in first place with his 158 career catches, smashing the previous record of 102. In fact, the only receiving record left to break is single-season receptions. His 57 grabs last season were just one shy of the record of 58, held by current Carroll receivers coach Andy Papagiannis.

With 54 catches this season, Becker needs only five receptions today at Spuller Stadium against No. 2 Snider in a Class 6A sectional championship game to grab that last remaining record. Papagiannis couldn't think of a better athlete – or a better person – to be the one to do so.

“He loves to have a good time, but at the same time, when it's time to get down to business, he'll put that smile away and he'll go to work,” Papagiannis said. “I definitely have appreciated his approach, not only his but also his brother Jonathan. I have appreciated their approach to their practice habits, and they've been nothing short of great examples and great leaders for our underclassmen.”

That's to say nothing of his exploits as a sprinter. Headed to Purdue next fall on a track scholarship, Becker holds Carroll records in the 100 meters (10.63 seconds) and the 200 (21.73). He won a state title last spring as part of the 400 relay team that finished just .04 second off the state record, and broke the state record during the indoor track season at 60 meters.

So did he think about competing in football and track in college?

“The receiver coach already contacted me, and I said no,” Becker said with a laugh. “I've thought about it, but track is my love and I love running track. I've decided I'm going to run track only in college.”

But college track remains a long way off. The more immediate task is avenging a 69-7 loss to Snider in Week 2, with a sectional trophy on the line. Regardless of the result, Dinan said Becker has done everything to get in the right position.

“Justin's legacy that he'll leave behind is as much about his character, and his personality and his hard work,” Dinan said. “It's more about that than it is about the numbers that will be left behind. The numbers are an indicator of the effort, the hard work and the investment.”