AURORA – Noel Abraham's parents aren't exactly students of the game of football.
Born in India, his father, Alex, and mother, Bency, are still learning the basics, and Abraham jokes that they tend to ask the same questions over and over.
But even newcomers to the sport could tell that Abraham did something special in Saturday's season opener. Abraham, a junior cornerback, came up with three interceptions against Plainfield Central, which Cadets coach Dan Thorpe believes to have tied a program record established by Manny Jaurez.
Abraham didn't have to explain to mom and dad that he had performed well.
"Yeah, they knew that was good," Abraham said with a smile.
Abraham almost wasn't suited up at all for Saturday's win or tonight's Week 2 matchup at Ottawa. After dislocating his shoulder three times last season, leading to surgery, Abraham's parents, and especially his mother, weren't so sure returning to football was the right call.
Maybe, they thought, he should instead run cross country, like his older brother, Nevin, did when he attended Marmion. But Abraham convinced his folks that football would be worthwhile, for which Marmion coach Dan Thorpe is appreciative.
"For his parents to allow him to come back shows that they respect the game," Thorpe said. "I'm sure they were nervous about him playing, so it's wonderful to have that parental support in knowing that football helps him in his educational development, which we all firmly believe."
Abraham's first shoulder injury, just before his sophomore season was to begin, occurred, of all places, in Marmion's swimming pool.
"We were doing like a football team bonding thing, like relays," Abraham said. "I was trying to swim really fast, and it just kind of slid out."
He re-aggravated his shoulder injury twice more in the weeks to follow, including an especially painful instance during one of only two games he was able to participate in, against Marian Central. That led to season-ending surgery, preventing him from playing basketball as he had planned.
He certainly didn't look rusty in his varsity debut. Abraham didn't even start Saturday's game, though he rotated in for Seth Sevenich to begin the second half after recording one of his three interceptions in the first half.
At 5-foot-7, 165 pounds, the U.S.-born Abraham acknowledges he's an unlikely source for a three-pick game. His speed and sound technique, though, served him well, even if he attributed much of his breakthrough day to good fortune.
"I think the third one was my favorite because I actually had good coverage," Abraham said. "The first one was really bad coverage, I just got bailed out because the quarterback made a bad decision. The second one, the pass was really bad, it kind of just came right to me, but the third one I actually covered him really well and I jumped up and caught it."
Abraham said "expectations are a lot higher" for him based on such a remarkable outing in the season opener.
The Cadets' home crowd on a rainy Saturday morning – the game was originally slated for Friday night, but postponed by lightning – was relatively small, but Abraham figures that might have worked in his favor.
"I think the crowd would have got to me for my first varsity game, especially with not playing since freshman year, really," Abraham said. "So it was a perfect situation for me."