Tuesday, June 11, 2013
High school student athletes who excel in their sports know how to deal with pressure. A basketball player signed to play collegiately with an SEC school can make a shot with the clock winding down. A football player with school records in his name can make a game-saving tackle. The program’s No. 1 tennis player can fire an ace when his team depends on it.
Griffie Loy has been there and done that for Bishop England football and track and field. The two-sport standout, though, is among a miniority of elite athletes who know there’s more than that.
“I remember being in eighth grade and watching the great football players,” Loy said, rattling off a half dozen of former Battling Bishop greats. “They were gods then. They could have gone out and robbed a bank, and I would have been like, ‘Wow, I want to rob a bank.’
“I don’t know if everyone understood how much we meant to everyone else, but I did. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I tried to remember that it was more than us playing football or me throwing.”
John Cantey enters his sixth year as head coach of the football program raved about his graduating linebacker and fullback. “Griffie is probably the best overall person I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. He’s won several state titles in football and track, but that doesn’t define who he is,” Cantey said.
“He’s a great person with great character. He’s a leader by example and by word. He’s the hardest working player I’ve ever had.”
Loy heads to the Naval Academy with a spot on the track and field roster. His 196-foot-6-inch discus throw in the 2A state championship not only earned him another state title ring, but it was also good enough for the fifth-best mark in the nation. He shattered the previous best by 11 and a half feet.
In college, the throws will be different as he switches from high school training to Olympic preparation. The shot weight increases from 12 pounds to 16 and the discus weight adds about a pound.
He entertained other serious Divison I interest, including Clemson, South Carolina, The Citadel, Wake Forest, VMI, Troy and Notre Dame, but ultimately settled on Navy because of a strong desire to join the military. His grandfather was a Naval captain for 25 years, Loy said.
The Citadel also offered to let him walk on to the football team, he added.
“Getting into the Naval Academy, it gives me the opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted to do – serve our country,” he said. The decorated Bishop has the tools to add military earned awards to his collection of championship rings.
The fuel to add a back-to-back title with the football team was started at the end of the first championship season when the graduating class boasted that they were the best seniors the school ever had. “The first football state championship was great. The second one was even better,” he said. “I’m so competitive that I was livid when they said that.”
The Bishops, with Loy as one of the captains, won 13 games by an average margin of victory more than 30 points, including a shutout in the 2A state championship game.
The 2011 group won 13 games by an average of just over 25 points.
Consider that chip on Loy’s shoulder heaved about 196 feet and 6 inches away.