Parents Wes and Renee Murphy noticed that, as a child, Gavin’s curiosity turned quickly to understanding.
He learned to read, hold a pencil and speak confidently to adults before entering kindergarten.
“We were blessed for sure,” Renee Murphy said.
Though he’s shy to admit it, Gavin skipped second grade, making him a fifth-grader at Mercer County Intermediate School at 9 years old. He promptly points out his favorite subject is recess, but Renee Murphy said he excels in math and even she admires his spelling abilities.
He easily absorbs and eagerly offers knowledge about everything from professional sports to local Harrodsburg history, and his enthusiastic outlook on life makes him well-liked among classmates. But Gavin said he sometimes notices that not all other children share his attitude.
“I feel different from some of the kids because some of the kids goof around all the time and make weird comments,” he said. “I’m excited (for middle school) that people are actually maturing.”
Gavin always has had enough composure not to fall victim to peer pressure, opting instead for leadership roles like the quarterback position he’s played for three years.
“I like how everyone kind of looks up to you and counts on you,” he said.
He takes that responsibility seriously. Last year, he finished a game after breaking his collarbone in the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Though his team was shutting out the opponent, Gavin asked to go back in, concealing the severity of his injury.
“We were about to have to punt, and we couldn’t do that,” he said.
After winning 28-0, Gavin took a trip to the hospital. But he only missed one week of practice, staying tough like role model Pittsburg Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Gavin and Roethlisberger both wear the same number 7 on their black jerseys, and not even Gavin’s father — a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan — could change Gavin’s mind once he’d sworn his allegiance to the black and yellow, Renee Murphy said.
“It’s a little rivalry that they have,” she said. “It’s kind of cute.”
But Gavin quickly scolded her adjective selection.
“Cute is not a word for football,” he said.
However, words like “pinky,” “girly” and “sissy” swarmed around the huddle of the Black Knights opponent the first time players sported their new pink socks.
With his history of wild game-day gear, Gavin remained unfazed.
“It just didn’t bother me because I had people make fun of my socks the week before, and we stomped them, too,” he said.
“I was really happy and proud of our whole team for going out there even if they made fun of us.”
The Black Knights won their first game in breast cancer attire. But if the team faces adversity later this season, Gavin will be ready with advice that could motivate a team or a breast cancer patient.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Even if we’re down, stay confident and play hard.”