Morton junior Brandon Grasha started kicking on the junior varsity last fall, his first season in football. It wasn't great. He even got knocked out in a game and carried off the field.
But the Govs' soccer star went to Ray Guy's Pro Kicker camp in Merrillville this summer and trained with local Arena League kicker Matt Denny. Big things are expected of him this season.
His cousin is former Griffith kicker Jeff Melton, who kicked a 35-yard game-winning field goal in the sectional to beat Morton 37-34.
"He wasn't even that good last year," Morton coach Roy Richards said. "But it gave him something to work at and he has become good because of his work ethic." — Steve Hanlon
Manning-Child: Hammond senior quarterback Eric Schreiber attended the Manning Passing Academy in New Orleans this summer, with Archie Manning, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Cooper Manning, the one family member who did not play in the NFL.
"Cooper was hilarious," Schreiber said. "He was always ripping his brothers with some good lines."
He also worked the National Championship quarterback A.J. McCarron of Alabama. All the mechanics of throwing, footwork and the mental aspects were taught and worked out all week.
Schreiber also got a treat when Peyton Manning tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You throw a pretty good ball." — Steve Hanlon
This is no Richard Simmons: Morton senior offensive center Zach Ward weighed 250 pounds at the start of the summer. But the 6-foot-3 two-year starter is down to 205.
A tough bout with Crohn's Disease has put a damper on what should be a great autumn in Hessville.
Six out of the last nine weeks, Ward has been in the hospital. But Govs' coach Roy Richards is optimistic that Ward will get back on the field.
"For a while he could not eat or drink," Richards said. "But he will be able to play, we just don't know when. We need to get him healthy and get some weight on him. He is a tremendous high school football player." — Steve Hanlon
A place to call its own: Boone Grove doesn't have a playing field at the high school yet, but progress is being made.
The Wolves now have a practice field there and the only trips down to the middle school now will be for JV games. "One step at a time," coach Tony Tinkel said. "The kids are having a blast, having their own field."
A new soccer field has been built on the campus, and once it is ready for use, Tinkel hopes the current site can be developed into a game-ready football field.
"There's nothing definite," TInkel said. "I don't even know if there's a time frame. I'd like to see it next year, but that doesn't mean it will happen.
"(Athletic Director) Kerrie (Schludecker) knows there's the need, and she taken steps to get us on the road we need to be on."
The Wolves' three home games this season will be played at Valpo High School, two on Friday nights and the other on a Saturday night. — Jim Peters