Rueben Farias marvels at how different Eddie Villarreal’s real-life personality is from the persona he evokes on the football field.

“He’s a very softspoken guy until he gets on the field, where he’ll hit you in the mouth and battle you on every play,” the La Joya High coach told Empower Texans of his junior star running back. “In two seasons, I can’t think of a play where he’s had a run for a lost. He’s a downhill runner who sets the table for everything we want to do.”

With three straight 100-yards plus games and 16 touchdowns over the first six games of the season, Villarreal has the Coyotes off to a 5-1 start and on course for the school’s second straight postseason appearance after six consecutive seasons of missing out.

“It’s great to see all the hard work pay off for him,” Farias added. “This is a kid who’s up before school to do workouts with his dad and still going into late evenings when we’re done with practice. That’s how committed he is to this.”

On the season, Villarreal has rushed for around 1,100 yards after amassing 1,360 as a sophomore with 10 touchdowns.

“I knew he was something special when we moved him up to the varsity late in his freshman season, and he looked like he belong from the first time he touched the ball,” Farias said. “In his first game, he was over 100 yards and he’s been going hard ever since.”

Farias said others have started to take notice.

“A couple Division 11 schools have started to look at him,” he said. “I certainly believe he can play at the next level. With him being a great student with a 3.5 GPA, I don’t think it will be long before others start showing interest.”