A cornerback’s worst nightmare

Mr. Mismatch, headshot.
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Scorpion wideout Jake Maulhardt had 60 receptions in ACHS’ first four games. © Iris Smoot/Acorn Newspapers

Jake Maulhardt isn’t a stereotypical star wide receiver.

He’s not loud, brash or obnoxious, and he doesn’t possess an ego the size of a Goodyear blimp.

He doesn’t go by a fancy nickname, seek attention or boast about his accomplishments, which are as ample as apple trees in Placer County.

Maulhardt is a football player, plain and simple.

The Camarillo High senior is as modest as superstars get.

“He’s very down to earth,” said Scorpions head coach Dennis Riedmiller. “That comes from his parents.”

The oldest of five brothers— there’s also Joe, Jack, and twins Jason and Jeff—Maulhardt is respectful, responsible, tough, hardworking and humble.

Maulhardt, whose cousin is Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, hauled in a staterecord 28 receptions against Canyon on Sept. 23.

The senior, who accumulated 351 yards and three touchdowns in the game, was upset that Camarillo lost to Canyon that night.

He surprised himself by catching that many passes from sophomore quarterback Michael Marin, who was filling in for injured junior Travis Valdez.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” Maulhardt said. “I’ve done about 100 interviews. Of all the football players in California, it’s nice that I stand out on top record wise.”

Near the end of the Canyon game, a Camarillo coach told the 6-foot-7 receiver that he had 28 catches.

“You mean Michael completed 28 passes?” Maulhardt asked incredulously.

“I didn’t think I had that many catches. It seemed like we were working in a normal offense.”

According to multiple sources, the national high school record of 32 catches was set in 1942 by Larry Bennett of Ohio.

In the moment, Riedmiller couldn’t believe his wide receiver’s herculean effort.

“I had no idea,” the coach said. “If I had known he had 28, I would have had him go for 30.

“It’s great for him. It’s great for the school. It’s great for the offense.”

Former Camarillo quarterback Zandro Diaz, who’s playing football at Iowa Wesleyan College, said he was amazed when he heard the news.

“I was speechless,” Diaz said.

Diaz enjoyed chucking rainbows to Maulhardt last fall.

“It was real fun throwing to him,” the quarterback said.

“He’s tall, so people probably misjudge him because they think he’s slow. He actually has some pretty good speed.”

With 60 catches for 650 yards and four scores through Camarillo’s first four games—results of Thursday night’s game against Oak Park were not available at press time—Maulhardt has a chance to break the state’s singleseason reception record of 122 catches set last year by Thousand Oaks’ Richard Mullaney.

Interestingly enough, Maulhardt remembers what his father, Tim, told him after Mullaney— nicknamed the Great White Buffalo— set his record during a playoff game against Oaks Christian.

“My dad said, ‘That should be your goal next year,’” Maulhardt said.

Well, is it?

“It would be nice,” Maulhardt said with an aw-shucks expression.

“We’re not going to try to get me the ball extra. We care more about winning more than one playoff game and winning league. If it happens, it definitely would be a great accomplishment.”

Tim Maulhardt played football at Cal State Northridge.

Jake Maulhardt is a leader on the field and in the locker room.

“He’s a positive, good leader,” said Valdez, who missed the first three games of the year with a broken left wrist.

“He’s very modest. He usually never talks about his stats. It’s always about the team. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s always going full speed. Even if the play doesn’t go to him, he’s always hustling.

Can Maulhardt slay the Great White Buffalo’s record?

“He could break any record,” Valdez said. “He’s always open— he’s huge.”

Maulhardt was a fullback, running back and defensive end for the local Roadrunners and Cougars youth teams.

As a freshman, he manned wide receiver for the first time, playing catch with Jeff Mathews, now the signal-caller at Cornell.

“Within a week I felt like I played the position my whole life.”

The next season he hardly played on varsity, but he learned nuances of the position from former ACHS wide receivers Ryan Molesworth and Chase Tackett.

He grasped the offense from coordinator Tony Pinedo.

“He’s the reason why I didn’t go to Oaks Christian or St. Bonnie,” Maulhardt said of Pinedo.

“If you’re good enough, colleges will look at you. I fell in love with Pinedo’s no-huddle spread offense.”

If schools weren’t interested before, they’re certainly knocking on Maulhardt’s door now.

He plans to visit San Diego State this weekend and make a trip to Boise State soon.

Utah and Colorado have expressed serious interest, while UCLA and USC are monitoring his progress.

A balanced student-athlete who’s involved in student government, Maulhardt also stars at basketball, and track and field.

He’s a forward on the hardwood, and he runs the anchor on the 4×100-meter relay team, along with competing in the 100, 200 and high jump.

Maulhardt is ready—no, he’s eager— to move on from the 28-catch day.

“We can’t keep looking back on it,” he said. “We still have a season of football to play.”

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