ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Sammy Mireles' pursuit of the state rushing record is just one piece of the puzzle Friday night at Alexandria.
Second place in the Central Indiana Conference is on the line as the host Tigers (6-2, 4-2 CIC) square off against the rival Panthers (5-3, 5-1). And the teams could meet again two weeks from now if both can get past their first-round sectional opponents.
Mireles, Elwood's sensational senior running back, needs 211 yards to surpass former Cathedral star Otis Shannon as the state's all-time leading rusher — a fact that dominated headlines all week.
But Alexandria's had a pretty fair season of its own. The Tigers can match their highest win total since 1998 with a victory, and junior quarterback Blaize Kelly also is on a record chase. He needs 157 yards to move to the top of the school's all-time passing list.
"We're excited about the year he's had," Alexandria coach Pete Gast said. "We're hoping we can set a pretty nice record ourself."
As for Mireles, he's approaching this game the same as any other week.
He's averaging 244.9 yards per game this season, and he had 215 yards on three consecutive carries in the second quarter of last week's 66-6 win against Frankton.
There's no denying his explosive potential, and Gast didn't even make an effort to hide the record chase from his players.
"They are aware of it," he said. "They can't help but be aware. There's been a lot of coverage. But we want to win the football game first and foremost. If he gets the record, we'll congratulate him. If he doesn't, he doesn't. I'm not looking at it like we have to stop him or it's a failure."