In the high school and college ranks, there’s a fine line between academics and sports — you can’t do the latter without the former.
For Dawson County High graduate David Scully, however, sports is the vehicle for reaching academic goals.
Despite offers from across the southeast to play college soccer, Scully decided to go to Georgia Tech as a preferred walk-on kicker for the football team.
His reasoning was simply this: Tech has biochemistry as a major.
"I’m going to college for studies first and sports second," Scully said. "When I found out I could continue sports at a school that had my major, I couldn’t pass it up."
Scully, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and was vice-president of his senior class, hopes to one day be a science researcher or engineer.
"I’ve always enjoyed science and how things work on a molecular level," he said. "I always figured that if I could turn my passion into a career, I should do that.
"Seeing how things work on a big level is one thing, but breaking them down to the bare bones level helps you better understand why they work the way they do, and that’s something I enjoy."
Scully grew up watching his older brother Shane Scully play soccer, and as a result was drawn to the sport.
Football wasn’t something he was drawn to, but instead picked the sport up in the seventh grade as a result of peer pressure.
"My friends kind of pressured me into playing," Scully said. "They knew I could kick a ball well and thought I should try to be the kicker for the football team."
Regardless of the means by which he became involved in the two, both ventures paid off.
His 38.6-yards per punt average as senior punter for the Dawson County football team allowed for a spot on The Times 2008 All-Area first team and a spot on Georgia Tech’s roster.
"He simply has the strongest leg of any player I have ever coached or seen," said second-year Dawson County boys soccer coach Jed Lacey.
In his junior and senior seasons, Scully was captain of his soccer team and his play at sweeper garnered several individual accolades, including being named one of the top 15 players in Class A/AA.
"(Scully) was a coach on the field," Lacey said. "When I first got (to Dawson County High) he stood out and I knew that he was the one I had to sell my program to because he would get the rest of the team to follow.
"I couldn’t have done what I’ve done and we couldn’t have been as successful without him."
In his two years under Lacey, and as the team’s captain, Scully led the defense to 11 shutouts, and the team to 21 wins and a trip to the second round of the state playoffs in 2008.
"We have a lot of great athletes coming back to play," Lacey said. "But you can’t replace David’s leadership and that’s going to be a problem."
"It’s been a phenomenal two years," Scully said. "When Lacey came in we were all a little skeptical, as you can imagine; but it’s been amazing playing behind coach Lacey."
For all the athletic prowess shown, however, it’s Scully’s demeanor that has left the greatest impression.
In the fall of his senior year, Scully got word that a local 10-and-under soccer team was in need of a coach. So two nights a week after football practice and Saturday’s after Friday night games Scully volunteered his time as head coach.
"He’s a humble kid and is going to be whatever he wants to be," Lacey said. "He doesn’t think he can’t do anything, but he isn’t arrogant about it.
"God has truly blessed him, I’ll leave it at that."