ELWOOD, Ind. —
The contest — which marked the sixth-highest single-game rushing total of Mireles' decorated career — answered any questions about how the running back will handle the spotlight as he closes in on arguably the state's most prestigious high school football record.
"He's the most even-keeled kid I've ever been around," Wells said.
He'll need to be as the hype machine revs up this week.
Waiting at the end is a 6-2 Alexandria team that can match its highest win total since 1998 with a victory. The Panthers (5-3) need a win to lock up second place in the CIC, and the game takes on added importance with both schools playing in the same sectional this year.
Toss in Mireles' pursuit of the rushing record, and an overflow crowd could descend on Small Town, USA.
"I would anticipate it being a playoff atmosphere," Wells said.
And the pressure will be turned up for Mireles another notch.
Led by junior quarterback Blaize Kelly, the Tigers average 31.9 points per game and have scored 34 or more in four of the past five weeks. Elwood will need Mireles to be in top form to keep pace.
The 5-foot-8 running back needs 41 yards to reach 2,000 yards for the third consecutive season — a feat believed to be unmatched in state history.
And, of course, the grand prize still looms.
With all due respect to Alexandria, the numbers are in Mireles' favor.
He's topped the 200-yard mark 18 times in his 39-game high school career, and he's averaging 244.9 yards per contest this season.
Last year, he amassed his second-highest single-game total — 385 yards on 31 carries with four touchdowns — against the Tigers.
With one more big night, Mireles can make history.
"I would never have imagined it," Wells said. "And I don't think anybody in the program would have imagined it. But he's worked his tail off to get to this point. It's very surreal."