The Trinity High School football team’s rushing attack has posted solid statistics this season, but the two most impressive numbers might be these — 35 and 30.
Those are the ACT scores of senior offensive tackles Michael Hiestand (35) and Justin Karem (30).
Just call them the Bookish Bookends.
“Just because they have that 35 and 30 ACT doesn’t mean they’re going to be great football players,” said Shamrocks coach Bob Beatty, who credited Hiestand and Karem with being leaders of the line. “But those guys are able to play faster than some kids because of (their smarts).”
Running backs Jailen Reed and Jovan Smith have helped Trinity average 191 rushing yards per game this season, and that ground game figures to be a key when the Shamrocks (5-1) face rival St. Xavier (4-1) at 8 p.m. Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Hiestand (6 feet 4, 235 pounds) is the right tackle and Karem (6-3, 240) the left tackle on a line that has opened holes for Reed and Smith all season.
“In all but the Male game I think we’ve played really well,” said Hiestand, referring to a 42-14 loss to Male last month. “I didn’t think we played atrocious against Male, but it wasn’t our best game. … I’m confident in our line’s ability to block just about anybody.”
Hiestand and Karem are confident in the classroom as well.
Hiestand is the president of Trinity’s senior class and has an unweighted grade-point average of 3.7. He scored a 35 on his third try at the ACT, following scores of 30 and 33. A perfect score is 36.
“I’m applying to some really competitive schools,” Hiestand said, “so I was trying to get a 35 or 36.”
Hiestand said he’s considering playing football at Dartmouth or Columbia or giving up the sport and attending Vanderbilt, Notre Dame or Miami (Ohio). He’s planning to study patent law in the biomedical technology field or pre-med.
Hiestand said success in the classroom doesn’t necessarily translate into success on the football field.
“There were a few kids last year who were smart and started and just made a lot of mental errors,” he said. “You just have to have a logical mind to work things out under high pressure. So it certainly helps.”
Karem is the vice president of the senior class — “I just didn’t think it would be fair to beat (Hiestand) out for president,” he joked — and has an unweighted GPA of 3.9.
He’s considering studying broadcast journalism or pre-med at Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky, Centre, Louisville or Kentucky. Centre is the only option for football.
Karem said having an analytical mind can be a plus and a minus on the field.
“I feel like it helps in reading what the defense is doing and knowing what you should do,” he said. “Sometimes it hurts because you overthink things and get yourself beat.”
Hiestand and Karem are rarely beaten on the field or in the classroom. Beatty said the duo is respected throughout the Trinity campus.
“When your student body trusts you to be the president and vice president of the class, that says a lot about the character of those kids,” Beatty said. “They’re thought of as leaders. Neither one of them is a very vocal kid, but they’re leaders by example. They get it done in the classroom and on the football field and in life.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]