Meet the national leader in rushing TDs, all the way from Alaska
The coaches at Bartlett High in Anchorage, Alaska, jokingly refer to running back Ethan Falaniko as Clark Kent, because of the black thick-rimmed glasses that have become a family trademark among he and his two brothers.
But so far this season, Falaniko has been more like Superman.
The senior leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with 23 and points with 140, according to stats compiled by MaxPreps. In six games, he has rolled up 1,364 yards, an average of 227.3 per game and 9.7 per carry.
“It’s been a great start,” Falaniko told USA TODAY High School Sports. “We just try to do the best we can and live up to our potential.
“I try not to keep track (of the stats). One of the coaches always asks (before each game) how many yards will I get. He always wants to hear what I’ll say, and what I always say is, ‘as much as I can get to help the team get the W.’ ”
Falaniko is a rare four-sport athlete. He plays basketball in the winter, and then plays soccer and runs track in the spring. He suffered an ankle injury in the spring while running track, but he said that did not impact his offseason regimen to get ready for the football season.
“I did a lot of lifting and I also tried to practice my acceleration – just getting strong and faster, that’s what running backs need to do,” he said. “I just try to push myself and do the best that I can to get better.”
Falaniko is up to 220 pounds this season, or as co-coach Dan Esparza put it, “He’s not a little guy by any means.”