PORTER TWP. — Film sessions at the Murray household aren't boring affairs.
After Boone Grove's 42-13 win over Hanover Central on Sept. 28, Chandler and Andrew Murray were reviewing the offensive line's play when they broke out in laughter. Every opposing defensive lineman and one linebacker jumped offside, and the Wolves dutifully raised their hands to point out the penalty.
Andrew Murray got a bit too excited. He lost his balance and toppled over into the center, then clambered up into his stance like nothing happened.
Chandler, his brother, let him have it. That's an occupational hazard of playing on the same line as your sibling. But it's not a bad deal overall.
“We goof around a little bit (off) the field with the little dances and stuff, just to have fun,” Chandler Murray said. “But we haven't been able to do it on the field because we're scared what the line coaches are gonna say to us, just being stupid and everything like that.”
Boone Grove is known for its explosive offense led by star do-everything threat Brae'ton Vann, but Chandler and Andrew Murray help pave Vann's way. They also anchor the Wolves' defensive line — Chandler, a senior, leads the team with eight sacks while Andrew, a sophomore, is second with five.
Wolves coach Dan Kukulski knew what to expect from his offense entering this season, but he wasn't certain about the defense. Chandler Murray was Boone's only returning starter on the D-line, so new players would need to produce.
So Chandler Murray did some recruiting work. Andrew Murray had played offensive and defensive line at the youth levels before transferring to Andrean to focus on baseball as a freshman. He returned to Boone Grove after the first quarter, and Chandler convinced him to join the squad.
“It's amazing that the kid's a sophomore in high school and, as big as he is, to be as nimble and quick as he is,” Kukulski said. “Sometimes a bigger kid like that at a younger age tends to be a little awkward, because they haven't grown into their size.”
Kukulski moves his defensive linemen around to confuse opposing lines, but Andrew Murray has taken over the nose guard spot in the second half of the season. Aside from Merrillville's Kenneth Grant, there aren't many sophomores with the size and seasoning to play in the middle of the defensive line.
At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Andrew Murray has the requisite strength but also brings impressive explosiveness off the ball — Kukulski said he'd rather have linemen like that than bigger guys who can't do much aside from getting in the way.
On offense, the Murrays' familiarity helps. Chandler Murray starts at right tackle, while Andrew subs in at multiple positions, including center and guard. When the two play next to each other, there's rarely any confusion about who should block whom.
“We both know everything about each other,” Andrew Murray said. “We know our tendencies, we know what we're gonna do on each play.”
Boone Grove is up to No. 6 in The Times Top 10 and remains undefeated at 7-0. The Wolves have never won the Greater South Shore Conference or a sectional title in their 10 years on the gridiron but have a real chance at both this season. They're on track in the GSSC and rank tops among Sectional 33 teams in prep guru John Harrell's computer ratings.
That's why Chandler Murray had no trouble selling Andrew. The younger Murray wants to make sure his brother — and all of Boone's distinguished 15-man senior class — goes out on top.
“We just don't let anything stupid slide,” Andrew Murray said. “We may be tough on each other, but that's how we have to win championships.”