NORMAL — David Boyd often is under siege as Normal Community High School’s point guard. That comes with facing what NCHS basketball coach Dave Witzig calls “a big-school schedule.”
“You see teams that press a lot,” Witzig said. “It’s fullcourt and it’s all the time.”
Ask Boyd about it and he smiles. Turns out he likes this sort of thing.
He spent his fall winning one-on-one battles as a star receiver/defensive back on NCHS’ Big 12 champion football team. So when the likes of Peoria Manual, East St. Louis and Rockford Auburn go after him on the hardwood, “I take it as a challenge,” he said.
“My teammates do a great job in practice of putting pressure on me,” Boyd said. “When it comes time for the game, I’m able to do what I need to do to help our team win.
“Sometimes they (opponents) get the best of you, but you have to stay focused and keep going at them and know that you’re not going to back down.”
Boyd’s steady hand and solid defense have helped steer the Ironmen to a 19-1 record and No. 6 state ranking in Class 4A. His 58 assists are a team high and his 25 steals are one shy of the team lead entering Friday's 7:30 p.m. home game against Peoria Notre Dame.
Boyd did a lot of scoring in football, catching eight touchdown passes and returning two interceptions for TDs. In basketball, the focus is on creating scoring opportunities for 6-foot-8 Tyler Seibring, 6-7 Alex Peacock and 3-point marksman Zach Thompson.
At 5.1 points per game, scoring is secondary to the fact Boyd has averaged less than two turnovers per contest.
“He’s done a really good job of handling the ball,” Witzig said. “He’s been able to get us into an offense and also get us some easy shots because of his ability to drive in there and find open shooters with his toughness in the paint.
“There are games where we’re like, ‘Man, we’re getting pressured a lot, but we’re getting a shot almost every time down the floor.’ ”
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Boyd has football in his genes. His father, Willie Boyd, was a receiver at Illinois State, earning honorable mention All-America honors in 1981.
The younger Boyd credits his father for helping him “with the confidence aspect,” adding, “He tries to nail it into me that, ‘You have to stay confident in yourself.’ ”
It helped lead to 44 catches for 665 yards in the fall. Boyd also intercepted five passes while earning first-team Pantagraph All-Area honors.
“When I’m on defense (in basketball), I guess I take it as more of a man to man, me versus them kind of thing just like in football,” he said. “I feel like I can intercept a pass. Out here, I try to do the same thing.”
Boyd took a visit this week to McKendree University for football, but has had interest in both sports at the small college level.
That he has options is noteworthy in an era of specialization, said NCHS football coach Wes Temples.
“Unfortunately, there are not nearly as many multisport kids anymore,” Temples said. “When you get a kid like David who’s playing both sports at an extremely high level and helping multiple teams, it’s tremendous.
“I think he just enjoys the opportunity to get to play and compete with his buddies. He ended up being our team MVP and that’s voted on by the kids. I think that shows the respect they have for him.”
Boyd occasionally thinks about what a dynamite senior year this has been. Then, he quickly moves on.
“I try to think, ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ ” he said. “It’s more than just winning one game. We want to do more than that. We want to just keep going.”