Granger ready to ‘fight together’ after offseason tornado

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#We fight together

It’s a motto the Granger High School football team adopts every time they step onto the football field.

However, this slogan took on a whole new meaning on March 21, 2022.

That day, an EF-2 tornado with winds of up to 135 miles per hour touched down in Granger as several tornadoes touched down in the Austin area.

Some homes were completely destroyed, but luckily no one was seriously injured in the Granger area. In the aftermath of the storm, Granger head coach Stephen Brosch and his players quickly sprang into action.

“The real miracle behind it all, what I think makes Granger such a special place, is that we made daily trips into the community just to pick up leftovers and help out in any way we could,” Brosch said. . “The city supports us so often and helps us throughout our seasons. So that we could give back and help in any way we could, we tried to do that and I felt like we accomplished a lot.

Since Brosch, a graduate of the Granger class of 2008, took over the football program in 2020, he has tried to keep his team active in the wider Granger community. Last season, his team donated Granger flags and poles to local businesses in gratitude for their support.

And as community support has grown in recent years, so has the success of the football program. Last season, Granger finished his first regular season unbeaten since 1985 (his only loss was erased after Burton was forced to give up seven games for using an ineligible player) and secured his first absolute district title since 2018.

And although Brosch and his team were slightly disappointed when Burton ended their season in the third round of the playoffs, Brosch said an 11-1 season was still a great achievement and nothing for his players to put their heads down. .

With Granger now having seven consecutive playoff appearances and 19 wins in his two seasons under Brosch, he believes the foundation for something special has been built in Granger.

“Especially when it comes to small schools, [success] normally comes with the troughs and tides of your talent pool as class size and different things happen,” Brosch said. “But we’ve been pretty consistent over the last few years to maintain that success, and it has a lot to do with the culture we’ve established.”

This year, Granger will have six starters on either side of the ball as he aims to continue his streak of success.

Last year’s starting quarterback Johnny Ryder (1,551 passing yards and 19 touchdowns) graduated, meaning the Lions need to replace a key piece of leadership in their offense.

Brosch said the quarterback battle is already heating up between senior Nate Tucker and junior Isaac Lizardo. Tucker played receiver and corner last year, while Brosch praised Lizardo for his “brilliant mind” in the position. He said it’s a battle he expects to continue throughout the offseason after both quarterbacks did well at 7-7.

And while the Lions could settle on a new quarterback, running back DJ McClelland (809 rushing yards and 11 TDs) is back to provide some backfield experience.

Brosch said he thinks the Granger offense could rely a little more on running play this year because of his personnel. Either way, he feels confident on this side of the ball.

“The depth that I feel like we’ll have at different positions is something we haven’t had in the past,” Brosch said. “And we have a strong freshman class coming in where there will be things that I think could help.”

On the other side of the ball, Brosch believes his defensive unit will be just as competitive as it was last year despite losing five starters.

McClelland will be a leader for that side of the ball from inside linebacker. Alongside him, Tripp Wilkie returns to outside backer after winning 1st team honors from all districts last season.

Up front, sack leader Michael Selucky returns to defense, while Brosch believes junior defensive tackle Jay Faulkner is ready for a breakout season after a “phenomenal” offseason.

With these returning players, Brosch is excited about the prospects of his team’s defense.

“I’m really confident,” Brosch said. “I feel like what we’re going to do defensively is going to put us in a good position to be able to get into some games because of the quality of our football swarming and our aggression.”

Granger will have new enemies in his district this year as playoff teams Burton, Snook and Somerville leave and are replaced by 2A “powerhouses” Bremond and Chilton. And with Granger facing three 2A Division I programs in his non-conference roster, Brosch expects the Lions schedule to challenge them from start to finish.

But after nineteen wins over the past two seasons, Brosch said his Lions are making progress toward their ultimate goal of bringing Granger a state title for the first time since 1997. And after record attendance on the first day of practices summer, he is full of hope for the coming season.

“Now it’s just, what can we do to go further,” Brosch said. “At the end of the day, the dream is that you would want to bring a state title back to Granger. We’re putting those foundational successes in order that as we get specials, I think that will become a reality in the Granger’s future.

2022 Granger Lions Football Match Schedule

(Bold denotes District 13-2A ​​Division II game)

8/26 at Hubbard

9/2 against Thorndale

9/9 v Holland

9/16 at Goldthwaite

9/23 v Bruni (at Kenedy)

10/7 in Iola

10/14 v Bremond

10/21 at Chilton

28/10 in Milan

11/4 against Bartlett

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