For a list of the other Gatorade State Football POYs, click here.
THE WINNER: Sammy Mireles
School: Elwood (Ind.) Community
Weight: 170 pounds
Athletic achievement: He rushed for 2,719 yards on 254 carries and 39 touchdowns this past season, leading the Panthers (7-4) to the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs. A 2012 First Team All-State selection, Mireles set an Indiana High School Athletic Association record with 8,110 career rushing yards and became the first player in state history to run for at least 2,000 yards in three different seasons.
Academic excellence: Mireles has maintained a 3.36 GPA.
Exemplary character: A devoted parishioner in his church community, he has volunteered locally on behalf of the YMCA and as an elementary school guest speaker.
“Sammy Mireles is an outstanding running back with high character,” said Curt Funk, head coach at Mississinewa (Gas City, Ind.). “He does his job to the best of his ability and runs hard every play. After a score he hands the ball to the official and does not brag or boast. He is the high school version of Barry Sanders with his running style.”
THE FUTURE: Mireles remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.