Salah Boyce’s faith a gift shared by many

Posted: February 7, 2014 in General

By W.G. Ramirez

A gift.

That’s exactly how Arbor View football coach Dan Barnson described outgoing senior Salah Boyce moments after the letter-of-intent signing ceremony this past Wednesday inside the school’s gym.

IMG_6466

Arbor View senior Salah Boyce

Boyce, who said he never expected to be in a position to play college football, will indeed take his talent to the next level, as he committed to the University of Mary, a Catholic school in Bismarck, North Dakota.

“The University of Mary has a great facility; the program is great, the nursing program is off the charts, the coaches treated me very well and I feel like I will be a good fit,” Boyce said. “The players as well, I really bonded with the players. Every player made me feel welcome, every player made me feel needed.

“I feel like I can definitely produce for this team. And I also feel like we can win a national championship.”

Words of a true football player.

But for those who know Boyce, a staunch believer in Christ, there’s more to the 5-foot-9, 170-pound spark plug.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

From the first time Neil Boyce saw his son in pads, he said he knew his son was bred to be a football player, despite his diminutive stature.

“I lit up right away, cause I was like ‘he’s not afraid to hit’ and that was really exciting for me,” Neil Boyce said. “I guaranteed him that if he put in the work, that we’d be able to get him an athletic scholarship. I didn’t know that that was going to happen, but now that it has, man, it’s nice to see it all come together. I’m extremely proud of Salah; he’s put in the work. He’s earned everything he’s received.”

But it didn’t come easy, as the Boyce’s moved from Virginia prior to Salah’s junior season. After doing extensive research, they settled into Arbor View’s zone and within two days of stepping off the plane, Boyce was on the field at Arbor View, ready to prove himself.

“We knew that we were solid enough as a family to move anywhere and not be subject to anything going on around us,” Boyce’s mother, Christina, said. “He was ready to get to work. He’s always been committed; he never wanted to give up. He just always put in the time. As a family, we wanted to stand behind him and make sure that we set him up in the best possible way.”

Boyce had never played varsity football prior to his arrival on Whispering Sands Drive, so Barnson wasn’t sure what to expect, especially when he was deep in talent heading into what eventually would turn into a division championship season.

But in the coach’s words: “He impacted right away for us.”

AGGIE PRIDE

After proving himself in his junior year, Boyce’s impact was healthy as much off the field, as it was on it. He became president of Arbor View’s Bible Club, helped get members and as a senior would provide pre-game prayer and motivational pep talks to his teammates.

IMG_5657“He did what it takes to be a leader,” said Greg Wolfram, the school’s athletic administrator. “He’s kind of a quiet kid, and to see how he took leadership of the team this year, from a spirited standpoint … it was interesting to see that.

“His Faith, that drives him. He wears it on his sleeve, and he doesn’t have any problem saying it to anybody.”

Perhaps that’s why his finest performance this past season – arguably his coming-out party – took place in the toughest game the program has ever had to play, on Oct. 24, 2013. Just less than a week after former principal Pat Hayden died tragically while competing in the Pumpkinman triathlon at Lake Mead, Boyce was the star of a 51-7 shellacking of neighborhood-rival Shadow Ridge.

Boyce caught two touchdown passes, returned a fumble for a score and intercepted a pass to lead the Aggies on a very emotional night.

As a senior for the Aggies, Boyce ran for 255 yards and three touchdowns on just 30 carries. He also hauled in five passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns, while he returned two fumbles for a score while tying the school record for most defensive touchdowns in a single season.

“I don’t take any of the credit for any of this, for any of his successes, I always say by the grace of God,” Neil Boyce said. “There’s no way I could have predicted all the things he’s been able to do. I can’t take all the credit, I just gave him the foundation and he has really taken it and ran with it on his own.”

THE GIFT OF FAITH

Boyce said he was headed down the wrong path at one point, but believes his Faith helped lead him back in the right direction.

“I feel like the reason why I’m really here today is because of God, by the grace of God,” Boyce said. “God, he got me back on the right path. And I was able to move forward ever since I’ve been walking with God. I feel that everything I’m doing right now is for a purpose, and I feel like I can touch somebody’s life – even at the University of Mary.”

One of the most successful programs in school history, the Marauders have posted 16 winning seasons and six conference titles in the 23 years the program has existed. The Marauders also have 10 playoff appearances, advancing to the semifinal round twice. Playing in one of the most competitive conferences in the country, the national champion has come out of the Northern Sun two times in the four years the Marauders have competed in the league.

But in addition to playing for such an esteemed program, Boyce’s parents beamed with pride at Wednesday’s ceremony, saying they were amazed at their son’s progress, intrigued by the potential of his spiritual growth, and excited for not only their son, but the people he will influence along his journey.

“I have every confidence that he is ready for the move,” Christina Boyce said. “I know he’s really excited about going to a Catholic school, and being around other Christians, I know that’s important to him. I’m confident that he’s prepared. Salah’s Faith has far surpassed mine at this point. I just couldn’t be prouder of him and the example he sets for other kids in the community.”

Which wouldn’t be any different from the path he’s taken since arriving to Las Vegas, and stepping foot on the campus at Arbor View.

“I never thought that I would be in this position; I’m really grateful for the opportunities that I’ve gotten out of Arbor View,” Boyce said. “I feel everything happens for a reason, and God, he put me here to do the things I’m doing.”

Said Wolfram: “He came in in two years and became a true leader of this team – it’s impressive. For him to get a scholarship and really not be highly touted until halfway through this year – it’s impressive. He’s a great kid.”

Or as Barnson put it about Salah Boyce…

… he’s a gift.

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Comments
  1. Dawn Hayden says:

    So very proud to be an Aggie…. Congratulations to Salah and his family, as we know how important Faith, Family and Friends are! The support Arbor View gives one of its own is a “gift”. Many Blessi HS!
    Dawn Hayden
    Family First

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