St. Edmond senior Alex Mericle helped pave the way for a single-season school rushing record last year.
Now, as the feature back, Mericle is working his way toward eclipsing that mark, which was set by Neil Flattery in 2011.
Mericle and the second-ranked (Class 1A) Gaels will face No. 8 IKM-Manning on Homecoming Friday night inside Dodger Stadium.
St. Edmond is a perfect 5-0 overall and 3-0 in District 2 play, and the 195-pound Mericle is a big reason why.
In terms of state leaders, Mericle is the fourth-leading rusher in 1A with 924 yards on 132 carries. He has scored 17 touchdowns, which is tops in 1A and tied for seventh in all six classes.
"I did a lot of lifting during the offseason to prepare for a larger role in the offense (this year)," Mericle said. "I feel like I can break a lot more big plays than (as a junior). I feel faster and stronger."
TIMEOUT WITH ALEX MERICLE
Vacation destination: Hawaii.
People I would like to have dinner with: Jesus Christ, my grandpa and Joe Harvey.
It would surprise people that I: am an exceptional dancer.
My sports role model: LeBron James.
My everyday role model: my dad.
I can't go a day without: Ibuprofen.
Superstition: watching an animated movie on game day.
Most heated rivalry: Manson Northwest Webster.
Favorite place to play: Dodger Stadium.
What are you listening to right now? Luke Bryan.
Team: Minnesota Vikings.
Movie: Friday Night Lights.
Book: No Frills Belly I Power Offense by Dick Tighe.
For his career, Mericle has 1,571 yards and 26 touchdowns. He is currently 11th on the school's all-time yardage chart with a handful of games remaining - and just 11 yards from surpassing Joel Allen for 10th.
However, none of those individual accomplishments are what concerns Mericle right now.
"We are pumped for (IKM-Manning)," Mericle said. "We've had a lot of blowout games this year, but we have made sure to stay well-prepared for every game.
"We are as focused as every right now."
Mericle is also a vital part of the St. Edmond defense, having recorded 50 tackles this year. He had over 100 stops last fall, helping the Gaels reach the second round of state.
Last winter, Mericle was a starter on the state runner-up St. Edmond basketball team. He averaged 4.6 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds.
Mericle hasn't made up his mind on college, but is leaning towards playing football at the next level.