LaRunte Fairley is 5-foot-8, 165 pounds. Not the kind of numbers you expect to see shining under the lights on a Friday.
Years ago when he was living in Elkhart, he was the last kid picked when the neighborhood football game went down. Size does matter sometimes.
"He's a young man with a lot of heart and a no-quit attitude," E.C. Central coach Stacy Adams said Wednesday night.
Morton defeated E.C. Central 50-28 on Friday, eliminating the Cardinals in the sectional semifinals.
Fairley put his name on the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Record Book last week. In the Class 4A Sectional 9 opener against Hammond, he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown.
His four Pick 6s in one season tied the national prep record. Lake Central's Tyler Szczecina is on the list, too. He returned four interceptions for scores in 2011.
The two region record-holders share the national 11-on-11 mark with Mike Galliger of West Central (SD) in 2007 and Jacob Edelman of Standwood North Cedar (Iowa) in 2009.
Fairley nearly nabbed that record fifth interception return for a touchdown on Friday, but Morton stopped him inches short of the goal line.
Fairley's Pick 6s all came against Hammond schools. He had two against Gavit, one against Clark and the record-tying one was a game changer against the Wildcats last Friday.
He also has regular interceptions against Lew Wallace and Boone Grove.
But what if some stranger would've told the safety he would tie a national mark in July?
"I wouldn't have believed them," Fairley said earlier this week. "I ain't got no magic. I can't predict the future. I've been hearing a lot about the record lately. I'm surprised by that. I'm excited by that."
Adams said the overall play of his defense has helped Fairley do his thing. The Cardinals had only given up seven points in the three games before Friday's Morton matchup.
E.C.'s defensive line gets mad pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers are quick, smart and nasty. The entire defense hits like a runaway train.
And the smallest Cardinal is no different.
"LaRunte can hit you, he really can," Adams said. "Don't let his size fool you."
Win or lose against the three-time defending sectional champion Governors, this has been an historic season in East Chicago. The Adams Family is changing the way football is perceived in the blue-collar town.
"I've seen the change in a big way," Fairley said. "We have way more fans since coach Adams came. E.C. is known for basketball because of E'Twaun Moore and all those other guys."
Fairley, though, brought up Purdue standout Kawann "KK" Short, who played on Central's 2007 state championship basketball team. Short, though, likely will play football on Sundays very soon.
E.C. is big enough for two sports to explode.
"KK was big into football, but I think our team is better than the ones he played on," Fairley said. "We're just trying to put football on the map."
This season was historical even with the tough loss to Morton. Every Cardinal should keep his head held high, whether he's in a national record book or not.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.