For some, sports are just a game, but for others, there is a much deeper meaning to why they play. Muncie Central quarterback Leo Boyd is one who has deeper motivation and inspiration to play the game.
Boyd's family has supported him through his athletics and academics all his life, but the family has had to support him through some tragic losses as well. During fourth grade, his mother died.
“When my mom passed, I didn’t know what was going on,” Boyd said. “As I got older, I realized I’m not going to see her anymore. It hurts to think about it.”
This time last year, his sister died as well. When Boyd lost his sister, he dove head-first into sports and dedicated himself to the weight room solely focusing on becoming a better player.
Boyd said these losses have made him who he is today, and his mom and sister’s memories are the reason he keeps pushing and striving to improve in every area of his life.
“It broke me down,” Boyd said. “I stay in the weight room, and that helps me a lot.”
Through heartache and tragedy, Boyd has found some peace through playing the game he loves. He will even wear a shirt during his games to commemorate those in his family who can’t be in the stands.
For most of Boyd’s high school career, he has been known as “the fast guy,” and he earned that title. The multi-sport star competed in the Indiana state championships in the 100-meter dash for Muncie Central in 2023.
“I want to be the fastest in Eastern Central Indiana (ECI), that’s for sure,” Boyd said.
Boyd has not only excelled in his time as a track athlete but has also flexed his muscles on the football field this season. The senior leads the Bearcats in rushing yards, total touchdowns, and total kick return yards.
Muncie Central head coach Kyle Padgett has seen Boyd’s abilities as a “Swiss army knife” in action every day.
“He’s electric,” Padgett said. “When you think about a lightning bolt, he’s everywhere all the time.”
Boyd wasn’t always under center, as he started his high school career as a wide receiver and cornerback. He made the transition to quarterback this year and he said dedication to the weight room and watching film have been the key to his success this year, and his teammates have taken notice.
“We’ll be sitting somewhere watching a movie and he’s over watching film,” senior wide receiver De’Markis Cole said. “He’s always watching football, and his IQ is so much better.”
Boyd and Cole's relationship has been a tight one, both on and off the field, since sixth grade.
Even though they enjoy doing other things together like riding bikes, football has always been the main priority for the two, and that dedication has paid off in their recent success on the gridiron. The connection between Boyd and Cole has helped lead the Bearcats to a four-game winning streak heading into sectional play.
“Even though we were losing at the beginning of the season, we were still staying after [practice for] thirty minutes throwing,” Cole said. “You just can’t give up because you’re losing.”
Even though Boyd has seemed unphased by the pressure of being the star, he said it isn’t always easy.
“I had to grow into it, for sure,” Boyd said. “Last year I didn’t have as much attention as has been brought on me this year. All of the guys look up to me, and I don’t want to let them down.”
As a student-athlete, the consensus among most is that being a student comes first. When Boyd first got to high school, Padgett felt there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect between athletics and academics.
“When I got here, his grade point average (GPA) is something he didn’t care about,” Padgett said. “I don’t think he even knew it.”
With aspirations of being a collegiate athlete, Boyd realized that approach wouldn’t fly at the next level. Luckily for him, Boyd had a support system behind him, and that support came from his family.
“When I’m down, they’re right in my ear chirping that I need to get back up and not break down,” Boyd said. “My brother plays a big part, keeping my head on a swivel so I stay out of trouble.”
An unspoken role that comes with being a leader that Boyd has stepped into has been being a mentor to the youth in the football program at Muncie Central. For some, this may be something asked of them, but for Boyd, it is all voluntary.
“He gave his game gloves to an eighth grader who had forgotten his to wear during their game,” Padgett said. “He gives a lot back to our entire football community and is a great leader for our younger kids who look up to him.”
Contact David Moore with comments at email@example.com or on X @gingninj63.