Sports Spotlight: Late start to football career doesn’t stop JP-II’s Shaw from earning All-Star Game spot, MVP

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – John Paul the Second football team became a home for Ray Shaw. A late bloomer to the game but it was at just the right time for Shaw. Our Eric Gullickson features the Saints defensive leader in our Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“Growing up football was always a thing I liked to play,” says JPII senior Ray Shaw, “I just wanted to be an athlete and play all sports. In high school first two years I was only just a baseball guy.”

“Had expressed to me, even as a freshman, he might want to play,”” says Saints Head Football Coach Sean Murphy, “and his junior year we talked and he said he wanted to come out.”

Ray Shaw headed to John Paul the Second in 2020. Really put himself into becoming a football player in the 2022 season.

“I was a little bit nervous. I hadn’t played football in a while,” says Shaw, “It’s just always working hard at everything you do. Football, in the classroom, everything like that.”

As a junior Shaw finished second on the team with 119 tackles in 13 games.

“Man he stepped in and did some great things as a junior,” says Murphy, “He was a captain this year.”

Shaw was the Saints’ leading tackler this season with 91 tackles in 10 games.

“In my own mind being afraid to fail. I think as an athlete to get over that step,” says Shaw, “Trust in yourself, trust in God, trust in the process. Being able to overcome and get to that point has been truly a blessing.”

The two seasons made him a candidate to play in the Gatlinburg All-American Bowl. An 8-man all-star game for kids all over the southeast.

“It was an amazing experience. It is good to go out there with different people,” says Shaw, “I think a lot of people are maybe just scared to take that leap.”

Shaw not only took the leap to play in the game but earned defensive most valuable player.

“Defense wins ballgames they always say so I went out there and had two interceptions, a couple of tackles,” says Shaw, “To be able to read the ball and help lead my team the 8-man stripes to a victory. Great experience. I am thankful for it.”

He hopes it can help him reach his goal to continue his career in college as he pursues a great education.

” Ray is an outstanding athlete, he is a quality kid, strong in the classroom,” says Murphy.

“Keep trusting God let him lead the way,” says Shaw, ‘There is a school out there for me so pray to find it.”