James Taylor is an aide in the Bowman Academy athletic office during the school day. A conversational question comes up quite often.
What's it like being a football star at a well-known basketball school?
It's kind of like being a Cubs fan in the Armour Square neighborhood. It doesn't seem to add up. Two plus two doesn't always equal four.
"We talk about it in school every day," Taylor said. "They won a state championship. We're trying to win a sectional championship. I use it as a fuel. It gets me going."
Going into Friday's Class 2A Sectional 33 opener at River Forest, where Bowman won 26-20 in overtime, Taylor had 110 carries for 1,005 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Against the Ingots, Taylor scored two TDs and ran in a 2-point conversion.
Not bad for a young man who never cared about football much or ran the ball until he was a freshman at the Gary charter school.
"My freshman year I was watching Alabama play and I couldn't believe what Mark Ingram was doing running the ball, it looked unnatural," Taylor said. "They he ran, the way he cut, it was incredible. So I wanted to try and see if I could do anything like that."
For three years Taylor has been the "Fire and Rain" of the Eagles' run offense. Bowman coach David Nelson said what Taylor does with the ball in his hands is like Ingram, unnatural.
"James can make you miss or run you over, he can do both," Nelson said. "He has excellent vision, too. He makes cuts that I'm thinking, 'How did he see that?' But he makes a cut into the open field and our sidelines is saying, 'Wow.'"
Bowman (5-5) will play Boone Grove (8-2) on Friday in the sectional semifinal. The game will be played at Roosevelt.
On Sept. 20 Bowman lost to the Wolves 20-8 in a game played at Valparaiso.
In the first game Boone's Bryce Lang rushed for 90 yards and one score. The Wolves rushed for 224 yards. Evan Stewart added 10 carries for 61 yards and the other TD. Andrew Ooms kicked a 35-yard field goal, while teammate Tony Skoda added one from 32 yards.
Niko Kilburg had two sacks, while George Kranik had two interceptions.
The Eagles rushed for 132 yards and passed for 120.
"We have to take care of the ball, we didn't do that the first game," Nelson said. "At this point of the tournament every team you're going to play is going to be good. We made too many mistakes the first game.
"I believe we're playing much better football right now. We have to execute in all three phases of the game."
Taylor has earned a Wendy's Heisman scholarship and he is also a 21st Century scholar. The honor student has talked to Indiana University coaches and said he might get a shot at a walk-on position.
He's even put a personal highlight video on YouTube to bring attention his way.
Taylor runs a 4.7 40, benches 235 and squats 615.
The senior plans to become a doctor when he grows up.
But now it's all about Boone Grove and advancing.
"Our offense needs to put more points on the board and our defense has to step up," Taylor said. "We were close to beating them last time. This time we get to play them at home. We just have to work hard, practice hard and play hard."