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Friday, December 3, 2021

Cathedral football player motivated by loss off the field

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Bryce Llewellyn has been described as a “monster” on the football field. His six feet, 200 lb. frame, combined with his speed and tenacity make him a formidable opponent every Friday night, and one of Indiana’s best players. Even before the playoffs started Llewellyn’s stats were already off the charts with 53 total tackles and 4 interceptions. His game clearly has elevated since last season, but not many know the backstory why.

Da’Mario McCullough

In March 2020, Da’Mario McCullough, a leader on the Fighting Irish defense, and a teammate of Llewellyn lost his life, the victim of a shooting. Mario was like a brother to many, and was the beacon of light for that Cathedral team. This heartbreaking act of violence took something from the young men who battled on the football field with Da’Mario. In an interview before his death, Mario said, ¨I will lead my team to a state championship.¨

Bryce is playing for that purpose this season. And he is showing it by his actions, taking his game to another level, because in their spirits, #2 (the number Da’Mario wore) is still with them under those lights. This was clear when Bryce said, ¨Every game we go down to the #2 hash on the field and say a prayer. That gives me a sense of him being with me and helps me play for him. I play with him every Friday.¨

That kindred relationship with McCullough is a major factor in what has elevated Bryce’s game. He is a strong leader that commands his team on and off the field. He understands the importance of a strong team bond. Llewellyn has grown up understanding the importance of family and loyalty. 

¨My favorite part about playing at Cathedral is the team’s tradition and family aspect that they all have. There is a tight knit brotherhood on this team and that brotherhood translates on the field under the lights. I have a strong connection with all of them, so that really fuels how our team becomes special.¨

The brotherhood at this school is nothing short of exceptional. The Fighting Irish have something great in their locker room that even NFl teams do not have. Llewellyn is a major factor in this mix, but his humble nature and selflessness keeps him and the team all one unit. 

His God given talents have allowed him to be a swiss army knife on the Cathedral defense. Llewellyn can range the field, but can also get nasty in the box as a roll down safety or linebacker.

”What makes me different is my tenacity and versatility. Not only can I play safety, but I can roll down and play in the box too.  I have the physicality to be able to play linebacker and come down and hit in the run game.  I play with confidence and fear no one,¨ added Llewellyn.

This versatility should be a key component in Bryce’s ability to get recruited at the next level. Colleges, especially after the season he is having, should be all over a player like this. On and off the field he does the right things. He is a leader that anyone would want in their locker room. 

The 11-1 Cathedral Fighting Irish are fighting to make McCulloughs dream come true this season, their only loss coming from Center Grove, a 6A school. They are the 5A favorite to win the title. Bryce is on a mission this season and is leading his team closer and closer to the ultimate goal of a state championship. Sometimes football can be more than about what happens on the field. For Bryce LLewellyn, what happened off the field has made all the difference in the world as to how he plays the game.

Sterling Smith is a reporter with NextGen Sports, a collaboration with The Recorder Media Group.

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