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August 23, 2013

Mireles, Panthers chase historic mark

ELWOOD — 2,170.

The number will define Elwood’s football season. It’s the total number of rushing yards needed by senior running back Sammy Mireles to set the state record for a high school career.

Indianapolis Cathedral’s Otis Shannon holds the standard with 7,560 yards. The 2000 Mr. Football award winner rushed for a state-record 3,252 yards as a junior in 1999 and holds the single-game record with 489 yards against Cincinnati LaSalle that same season.

Shannon’s teams won Class 4A state titles in 1998 and 1999 and featured future NFL talent in offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood (now with the Washington Redskins) and defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka (now with the New York Giants).

That’s impressive company for Mireles and the Panthers to attempt to join. But the shifty running back set his sights on the record almost as soon as his junior season came to an end.

“Honestly, it’s our program’s goal,” Elwood head coach Marty Wells said. “And what a feather in the cap for the program it would be. You’re talking about the leading rusher in Indiana history. That’s pretty special.”

And no one is under the misconception it will be easy.

If the Panthers play the minimum of 10 games this season, including a guaranteed first-round sectional contest, Mireles will need to average 217 yards each week to set the record.

He averaged 207.1 yards per game during his first season as a varsity starter in 2011 and bumped that total up to 223.6 yards per game last season. He set a school single-game record with 429 yards against Oak Hill as a sophomore and now owns the two best single-season rushing totals in Elwood history (2,460 last year and 2,071 in 2011).

Wells believes Mireles also could become the first running back in state history to record three consecutive 2,000-yard rushing seasons.

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