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October 14, 2013

Otis Shannon: The Man to Beat

Former Cathedral star's record being chased by Elwood's Sammy Mireles

INDIANAPOLIS — On the October night 13 years ago when Otis Shannon set Indiana's high school rushing record, Sammy Mireles had not yet begun grade school.

At age 5, Mireles still was one year away from taking his first snap on a football field. And, in some ways, he remains in a world removed from Shannon's bright lights, big city career.

On Friday, however, the players' paths could overlap in a very meaningful way in Alexandria.

Mireles, now a senior at Elwood, needs 211 yards in the regular-season finale against the rival Tigers to surpass Shannon's career total of 7,560 amassed from 1997 to 2000.

It's the culmination of a quest Mireles set for himself almost immediately after the 2012 season ended with his second-straight 2,000-yard rushing campaign. But he still has much to learn about the Indianapolis Cathedral star he's been chasing.

"I hadn't heard anything about him until here recently," Mireles said, adding that he began doing a little research on the running back when the record came on to his horizon.

The Fighting Irish have a proud football heritage that includes 10 state championships and the past three Class 4A titles. Shannon won two of those state crowns during his career, playing alongside seven classmates who went on to college football's highest division.

Two of Shannon's teammates — offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood and then-tight end Mathias Kiwanuka — currently play in the NFL. Trueblood with the Atlanta Falcons and Kiwanuka as a defensive end with the New York Giants.

Yet, it's the 5-foot-9, 188-pound Shannon who stands as the program's only Mr. Football award winner.

About three years ago, Cathedral head coach Rick Streiff noticed Shannon standing behind the sideline during a game. He invited the former star to come out to practice and address the team. Some players knew who he was and what he'd accomplished, others did not.

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