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Eli Frost checks the national statistics weekly. He checks his favorite Bible verse daily, at the very least.

And, there you just may have the key to the success of one of the top rushers in high school football this season.

“I’ve been raised up not to be cocky,” said Frost. “There’s this Bible verse I live by, Luke 14:11, it says, 'Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, those who humble themselves will be exalted.' I just live by stuff like that, it’s bigger than football.”

The yards being put up by Frost, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior from Fairview High, a Class 5A Region 8 school in Cullman County, fit into the "easy-to-get-a-big-head" category. He’s gained 2,254 yards in eight games, which, according to MaxPreps, is fourth-best in the country. He’s scored a national-best 38 rushing touchdowns. He’s third in the nation with 228 total points. He’s rushed for more than 300 yards in five of his team’s eight games and more than 200 yards in two more. Eighteen of his touchdowns have come from 20 yards or longer, including scoring runs of 94, 71, 70 and 60 yards.

These aren’t manufactured numbers. These are numbers in the flow of the game. If the game gets out of hand, which it often does for a team that is 7-1 overall and 5-0 in region play, Fairview head coach George Redding sits him down. If the sole goal was to build gaudy numbers then Frost doesn’t sit down after one quarter, during which he had 94 yards on eight carries with four touchdowns, in a season-opening win over Columbia, which has now lost 70 games in a row.

On October 8, he became the school’s all-time single-season leader in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, eclipsing records set by Matt Black in 1994. Last Friday, he became Cullman County’s all-time single-season rushing leader, passing the 2,260 yards gained by West Point’s Kobe Smith in 2015.

Ask Frost about those accomplishments and he quickly deflects the praise to his teammates.

“I couldn’t do it without them, of course,” Frost said. “I think every achievement I’ve gotten this year with the high school record and the county record, it’s not my record. [My teammates] can always look back and say, ‘I helped that guy get that. I was a part of that team.’ That’s big for all of us. To sit there and block for somebody the whole game and the crowd chants out my name and not them, I know that’s tough on them. I just make sure to let them know I really appreciate them and we couldn’t do it without each other.”

Redding said those aren’t just words thrown around by Frost. Instead, they are words that Frost lives by.

“A lot of people, especially in the community, they see what he is on Friday night and the things that he can do on the field,” Redding said. “We see him each and every day and how he treats others and how he serves others. Character is very important to him, hard work is very important to him. There is a lot of talk about being leaders and everybody wants to make it to the top. But, the key to leadership is how many can you bring with you. I think, every day, he does a good job of bringing other guys with him. Overall, just a great person and he’s got a servant’s heart.”

Frost grew up on the football field. He started playing when he was seven years old, and he grew up carrying the football. However, when he reached Fairview High, he was a defensive player first. He’s been a three-year varsity starter in the secondary for the past three seasons and was a part-time starter as an eighth-grade defensive back. It wasn’t until the playoffs last season, because of injuries, that he became a full-time starter at running back.

“We were able to make a run in the playoffs and he was able to be a huge part of that,” said Redding, whose team advanced to the Class 5A semifinals before losing to Pleasant Grove. “The carryover is unbelievable. He just wants to be better. He will find one or two faults throughout a game and he will focus on those things the next week – whether it’s ball security or how he blocks in pass protection or whatever it is. He just wants to get better. That’s why you continue to see the progress.”

Frost rarely comes off the field during a game. He plays on both sides of the ball and all the special teams. Redding said he occasionally takes him out on extra points to get a sip of water before lining up to cover the kickoff. Afterward, Frost makes it a point to visit with kids from the community there to watch the game.

“That’s my favorite part,” Frost outlined. “As a kid, I didn’t really have a role model, I wanted to be my own person. Taking pictures and stuff, that’s really fun. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is worth it, there’s a purpose behind it.”

One thing that hasn’t come is attention from college recruiters. Frost said he’s heard nothing from coaches at any level of college football. The lack of attention is perplexing for Frost and Redding, but they have other things to worry about, most notably Friday’s region visit from Russellville. The winner of the game will claim the region title.

“We don’t want to sit around and think about the what-ifs and the future and all that kind of stuff, because we can’t do much about it,” Redding said. “We believe that good things will come to good people who continue to do good things every day and that’s what he does.”

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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