The Bounce Back

Bryce Mandala, Sports Editor

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Last year took some L’s, but this year the Varsity football team is ready to bounce back. Last season did not go how they would’ve liked it to, and now a lot of players feel like they have something to prove and is willing to tackle any challenge that’s in front of them.

The excitement level for the players, and Head Coach Chris Robinson is at an all-time high for this season, after the 2017 campaign where the Bulldogs posted a 2-7 record. The past two years Grant has had major success at the lower levels, with the Freshman teams combining for a 14-2 record. The key contributors to those teams are now Sophomores and Juniors and are looked upon this year to step up big on varsity. Seven Sophomores in fact, have started a game.

Not to mention all the hard work every player has been putting in during the preseason. Football is a physically demanding sport in terms of work in the offseason, every player is out on the turf in full pads giving every little ounce of sweat toward each drill to get better over the summer at camp, months before their first game, and if they’re not on the turf, they’re in the weight room getting stronger. “I think the one thing that I’m most excited about with this group is seeing all the hard work pay off that they put in over the summer. We’ve had a major improvement as far as attitude and efforts go throughout the offseason, and if they (the players) keep the focus, it’s hard to say what they can’t accomplish and what their limits are,” says Robinson.

With excitement comes high expectations. Junior Defensive End, Luke Bedrosian who was part of the undefeated freshman squad a couple years ago, believes that the Bulldogs have all the right pieces to receive a bid to the playoffs this year and even advance far into them. “This year the goal is playoffs and I mean state obviously, but this year for sure, playoffs,” quotes Bedrosian. It’s always good to take things one step at a time, focusing more at what’s right in front of you, instead of far into the future.

Having good team chemistry can take you a long way in sports, it allows you to put more trust in your teammates, As quoted by the Huffington Post, “Building a team that works well together is a lot like starting at puzzle and matching the pieces. It often helps to break down the job and consider the individual components.” Luke also speaks on that. “Our freshman year, we had really good team chemistry, we always stuck together, and I think that’s what carried us to success that year.” Several players feel the same kind of relationship as that with this year’s team as well.

It’s been a long time coming for the Bulldogs to be projected for this kind of success. Grant was considered to be a football “powerhouse” for much of the 2000’s. Although in recent years, things haven’t gone exactly how they wanted to. Grant made the playoffs six years ago in the year 2012, but have fallen just short each year since then.

Every player, including the entire coaching staff is confident that Grant football is going back to their old ways, winning football games on a consistent basis. The Bulldogs have a current record of 2-2 (at time of print date), winning their last two games against NLCC opponents Round Lake by a score of 32-6, and the Rams of Grayslake Central, 14-3 on Homecoming Week. The future’s looking brighter than ever for the football program and they’re hoping to keep their success rolling for the remainder of the season.