INDIANAPOLIS — “Man, he’s fast.”
That was the impression Elwood senior running back Sammy Mireles left on one Scecina High School official in the press box at Samuel T Keller Athletic Field at Howe High School on Friday night.
But Mireles, starting his hunt for the state career rushing record, and the Panthers weren’t fast enough to outdistance the Class 2A No. 5 Crusaders, who rallied to beat Elwood 29-13.
“We had our chances to put them away and just didn’t get it done,” Elwood coach Marty Wells said.
Elwood jumped out to an unexpected lead in the first quarter, capitalizing on the first of six Scecina fumbles. Quarterback Alex Mireles, Sammy’s younger brother, hit senior London Leavell on a 17-yard route for a touchdown. Senior Anthony Bennett nailed the PAT to put the Panthers ahead 7-0.
On the ensuing drive, Scecina was moving the ball nicely, helped by two of 15 Elwood penalties, when the Crusaders’ back put the ball on the ground again. This time, the Panthers recovered at their 28-yard line. On second-and-3 at the Elwood 35, Sammy Mireles bounced it to the outside and streaked down the field to the 2-yard line. It took a couple of tries and a pass interference penalty on Scecina, but Sammy Mireles finally reached the end zone on a 1-yard run to give the Panthers a 13-0 lead with nine minutes left in the second quarter.
Mireles ended the night with 154 yards on 15 carries, a good though off-pace start to his record-seeking season. The senior needs to average 217 yards to pass Cathedral’s Otis Shannon for the top spot.
Still, his ground-churning speed impressed.
“Probably 140 (of those yards) are all him,” Wells said. “That one in the second half, that was a 6-yard loss, and he gets 20 yards on it probably. And he had a couple runs get called back on penalties.”