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News » Saints have their ACT together Intellectual acumen helps Central achieve on the field as well as off


Saints have their ACT together Intellectual acumen helps Central achieve on the field as well as off


Saints have their ACT together Intellectual acumen helps Central achieve on the field as well as off
BLOOMINGTON - The results were in. David Murray had scored a 34 on his ACT.


Most high school students would have been excited, jubilant. Murray was disappointed.

So he took the test again, this time getting a 35.

It would have to do.

"I wanted to get a perfect score (36)," he said. "That would have made the college process a little easier for me."

Murray has set a standard on the Football field this fall, starring at fullback and linebacker for 13-0 Central Catholic. He also has set the bar academically on a team with brains as well as brawn.

Murray is among six senior leaders who have scored 30 or higher on their ACTs and/or earned Illinois High School Football Coaches Association academic all-state honors.

Receiver Dan Curran got a 34 and receiver/defensive back Ben Heaton a 31. Lineman Joe Ring (29) and quarterback/safety Adam Rebholz (28) flirted with the 30 mark, and joined Murray, Heaton and tight end/defensive end Dylan Johnson as academic all-staters.

The brain power has helped the Saints earn a return to the Class 4A state championship game. They face Aurora Christian (13-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Champaign.

"We all know that everyone knows their part and they?re going to perform it," Ring said. "There?s no forgetting a play or forgetting your assignment. That?s kind of built into the trust of the team."

Heaton agreed, saying the Saints "pick up things easier" while studying opponents? tendencies.

"We?re able to recognize them just as we recognize a math problem," he said, smiling.

Head coach Bobby Moews considers the intelligence level to be most valuable on defense.

He said success defensively depends upon the ability "to make quick decisions on your feet and be able to change coverages or change fronts."

"It helps when there?s a good, solid base there and you know it (strategy) is sinking in," Moews said.

The importance of academics sunk in years ago for Curran and his twin brother, John, also a senior athlete at Central. Dan Curran said the two "are very competitive with that, just like everything else between us."

Why?

Their parents, Mike and Colleen Curran, made schoolwork a priority.

"They were pretty strict about that," Dan Curran said. "I had to get all of the homework done and study for all of the tests before I could do anything else. They had me trained."

That discipline and classroom commitment is common among the senior leaders, Moews said, and "sends a message" to the rest of the team.

"Sometimes Football players get labeled with a stereotype," Moews added. "These guys are changing that."

Rebholz attributes the success to the fact he and his teammates are "competitive in anything we do." Still, he said Murray and Curran are "in a league of their own" when it comes to test scores, etc.

"To be honest, this year my classes aren?t quite as high level as those guys," Rebholz said. "But I still have to put in some effort and make sure I get my homework done."

So does Johnson, who said, "I?m not the smartest kid. I just try to work hard on and off the field. You put the same work ethic into your studies and athletics."

No one does it more consistently than Murray, a 5-foot-10, 205-pounder nicknamed "Diesel" for his hard-running style. Johnson smiled and shook his head in regard to Murray?s "retake" of a 34 ACT.

"The Diesel is impressive," Johnson said. "He always does things that amaze us. The ACT is no different."

CUTLINE: David Murray, center, heads a group of six Central Catholic High School senior Football players who have scored 30 or higher on their ACT and/or been named academic all-state. Surrounding Murray from left are Dan Curran, Dylan Johnson, Joe Ring, Adam Rebholz and Ben Heaton.

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008

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Joey Thomas Name: Joey Thomas
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Age: 27
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