PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — This week of Thanksgiving, Malachi Washington says he has 3,000 reasons to be thankful.

“My goal was 2K but I came out with 3,000. I’m very grateful,” said Washington.

Three thousand as in 3,000 yards rushing. When last year’s top offensive player Eddie Clark graduated, people wondered what would happen with the Peoria High offense.

Washington has taken every opportunity to step in with the answer with a year that has included over 3,00 yards rushing.

“He was ready last year but he was behind a guy that was also ready,” said Peoria High Head coach Tim Thornton. “A guy like Eddie Clark was so explosive, how do you take a guy like that off the field? Malachi is in that boat this year.”

Washington leads Peoria High into the class 5A state championship game against Nazareth Academy on Saturday in Champaign. He says he’s been thinking about this game since he started grueling offseason conditioning.

“I never had any rest days. Got into trouble for not resting,” said Washington about his summer workouts. . I was always in the weight room, always on a football field, at a football camp. I was never really home.”

With the year he’s had, Washington has fans all over Peoria. But he says his No. 1 fan is his mom Shaonda.

He says he wants to win a championship for her just as much as he wants to win it for his team because she has kept him motivated at practice, in games and in the weight room.

“I’m excited but she’s really excited. She was crying (after the semifinal win over Morris last week,” Washington said. “She’s very happy and proud. I’m blessed to have her as my mother.”