WHEELING, W.Va. — Adam Murray’s reputation as an elite defensive player was solidified last season. He became the first sophomore to win the Sam Huff Award as the state’s top defensive player.

With eight tackles in the Class A championship game, Murray capped a season where he made 172 stops, 38 of those were for a loss. He anchors a defense that allowed just over ten points a game in the regular season.

“Our defensive line has done an excellent job,” Murray said. “Our coaches every week give us a great game plan and I think our players buy in each week to what we need to do to get it done.”

Murray’s complete skill set was on display against Williamstown. With his Maroon Knights up 16-8 in the second quarter, Murray stepped back to punt. He saw an opening and carried the ball 34 yards for a first down. The drive resulted in a Central touchdown, and they kept a double digit lead for the rest of the game.

“He saw that he could get something and he had that option,” said Wheeling Central Catholic head coach Mike Young. “He did a tremendous job of reading it and that was a huge momentum play.”

“I didn’t know where everyone was at so I didn’t know what to expect,” Murray said. “I just made the most of it.”

With a variety of skill players on the Central roster, Murray carried the ball just ten times entering the championship game. He was rewarded with four carries on offense, two of which he turned into touchdowns. “It feels amazing,” Murray said. “I will do anything for my teammates. I love those guys. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure we have the right things to succeed.”

Murray is an integral part of a strong junior class that will return in hopes of securing a third consecutive state title in 2019.

“Our coaches tell us every week we have to go game-by-game, practice-by-practice,” Murray said. “That’s how we get here every year. Back-to-back state championships are really a hard thing to do and I am truly blessed to be able to do it again with my teammates.”