ELWOOD — Sometime before the end of this school year, Chase Duncan has a difficult decision to make.
He can go to Hanover and continue his football career, or he could head to Indiana University and begin taking pre-med courses on his way to a career as a doctor of radiology.
Hayden Ferguson plans to jump straight into the work force in construction management, and Craig Jackson is on his way to Grace College in the northern part of the state where he'll study physical therapy.
Jake Nutt is just a junior, but he already knows he wants to become a police officer. And Ethan Morris is the youngster of the group, just a sophomore in his fall semester with the majority of his high school career still in front of him.
These are the Elwood linemen whose job it is each week to open cracks for record-chasing running back Sammy Mireles to slip through. And it doesn't take much daylight to set Mireles free.
"It's so fun just to block for him," Ferguson said after Tuesday's early evening practice. "You just get in the way of a defender and do your job, then he does the rest."
"With a running back as good as him," Duncan added, "you don't have to work as hard."
True to form, the linemen are being modest.
It takes a certain type of player to strap on the pads each week and crash into the guy across from him on every snap. Especially when all the glory is going to someone else.
The kids that choose to do this dirty job, however, revel in it.
And this group of Panthers now has the chance to be a part of history. Mireles needs 211 yards Friday night at Alexandria to become the state's all-time leading rusher.