By Justin Bates
For The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD, Ind. — The Elwood Panthers raced out to a 39-point halftime lead en route to a 66-20 victory over Blackford on Friday night in the Central Indiana Conference opener at Elwood.
Sammy Mireles continued his assault on Otis Shannon's state rushing record with 321 yards on 17 carries and five touchdowns in 2½ quarters of work. Mireles has 703 rushing yards in three games this season, leaving him 1,466 yards short of Shannon's mark of 7,560 set in 2000.
“They gamble a lot on defense, and they live and die with that,” said Elwood coach Marty Wells of the Blackford defense, which allowed 14 plays of more than 10 yards.
The Panthers set a school record with 53 points in the first half, including 34 in the first quarter. Elwood finished with 549 total yards, including 436 on the ground. Elwood also retained the CIC traveling trophy, which it won last season.
“We challenge them with that,” said Wells, pointing to the trophy. “We want to keep that, and the kids took that to heart.”
Blackford finished with 272 total yards of offense – all on the ground – on 42 rushing attempts, including runs of 75, 60 and 42 yards.
“We have to get better on defense,” said Wells. “They did a good job of running the option.”
In addition to Mireles, backup running back Zane Boyer finished with 89 yards rushing on 17 carries, including a pair of touchdown runs. Alex Mireles added 13 yards rushing and completed both of his passes for 34 yards, including a 21-yard score to tight end Jared Bourff.
Backup quarterback Will Dailey completed his only pass for a 79-yard touchdown to Tyler Hoel late in the game. London Leavell also had a big game with two interceptions on defense, one reception on offense and a 46-yard punt return. Defensive tackle/kicker Anthony Bennett kicked six extra points and also had an interception.
Elwood (1-2, 1-0 CIC) travels to Madison-Grant next Friday at 7 pm.