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Russell Boston craves success.

The senior leader on the Liberty High School football team wants to pull teammates in the same direction, literally.

During a recent eight-mile round-trip team-bonding hike up and down Mount Si, Boston was the first to the top. But he quickly headed back down to assist a struggling teammate up the final mile once he heard he needed help.

“Russell and a couple of other leaders had given some young kids their cellphone numbers and said, ‘If you’re struggling on the climb, send me a text,’ ” Liberty coach Steve Valach said. “So, Russell was one of the top finishers and he gets there in a little more than an hour. And, he gets a text from one of the younger players, who is struggling.

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“Russell hikes back down over a mile and helps the kid finish the climb. I had told him he could tell the kids to turn back. But that’s just a shining example of who he is.”

Boston, whose father Russ was a standout receiver and returner at then NAIA Division II Westminster College from 1982-85, doesn’t make excuses. His character helps hold teammates accountable.

“My class (of seniors) and core group of leaders is really, really tight and we’re all aiming toward the same goal,” Boston said. “We’re not going to let practice lag off at all and get low energy or low execution.

“We’ve had trouble translating what we’ve done in practice to what we need to do in games. When we tighten up the little things, we’re going to have a great season.”

Boston led the Patriots (5-5 overall, 3-4 in KingCo 3A/2A) and KingCo 3A/2A in all-purpose yards during the regular season with 1,028 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns.

“He’s one of the very best kids I’ve ever been around,” Valach said. “The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. His dad is an amazing guy. His dad serves in every capacity in the Liberty community, starting as a youth football coach for years.

“I don’t know how he does it all. They are definitely a show-me, don’t-tell-me kind of family, especially with work ethic and commitment.”

Boston has yet to receive interest from major Division I programs, but has visited Cornell and Pennsylvania.

A chance meeting last fall with then-Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew turned up Boston’s intensity and heightened expectations.

“My neighbor invited my family out to dinner when (Jones-Drew) was in town,” said Boston. “I really just wanted to pick his brain about work ethic and hear his thoughts. He’s a smaller guy like me, and he made the league (NFL).”

Boston’s a classic case of a small guy who thinks and plays big, just like Jones-Drew.

The Pats will get tested in the tough KingCo 3A/2A league, but after dropping from 3A to 2A will have to get past only Sammamish to reach postseason play.

“I want to go all the way this year, and there’s no other way to put it,” Boston said. “I like to see everyone I care about succeed. That’s the biggest thing for me. My biggest fear is if my teammates see me step off the gas, they’ll let off the gas and we’ll fall short of where we are supposed to be.”

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