Prep Football

Highland's Grider hoping to go out on top

2012-10-17T21:15:00Z 2012-10-18T04:47:04Z Highland's Grider hoping to go out on topSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
October 17, 2012 9:15 pm  • 

HIGHLAND | It's kind of like a singer being named Elvis. Some vocations simply have a name that is recognizable to the public.

Like presidents named George, Highland has a quarterback with a name that fits what he does Friday nights -- Gunner Grider.

And his first name is not a nickname.

"Nope, that's what's on his birth certificate," Highland coach Trent Grider said.

The senior Grider was coaching in Ohio when his son was born. He followed the lead former Bengals' quarterback Boomer Esiason, who named his son Gunnar.

Trent actually walked up to a press box when few were watching, or listening, and repeatedly said into the public address microphone, "Gunner Grider. Gunner Grider."

"I wanted to see what is sounded like," Trent said.

The name has been said over the Highland P.A. the last four years. Although not an A-typical QB, Gunner has started there the last three-plus years for one reason.

"He was the guy we needed there," Trent said.

While Highland has struggled through a 5-34 record the last four years, Grider has put up some solid numbers. He's thrown for 2,000 yards with 16 TDs and 12 interceptions.

He's rushed for 500 yards with nine scores.

He hopes the numbers go up Friday when the Trojans (1-8) travel to Griffith (3-6) for the Class 4A Sectional 9 opener.

"It's not been a lot of fun," Gunner said of the losing. "But you do what you can. You take all the advantages you can. If you get knocked down you get back up on your feet and do whatever it takes."

While Griffith pounded Highland 41-14 in Week 7, Panthers star quarterback Austin Brown was injured last Friday against E.C. Central and did not play in the second half.

His potential absence could bring the two squads closer.

"I remember my first play as a freshman like it was yesterday," Gunner said. "Time has flown by. We have to try to get some momentum going against Griffith. They are one of our biggest rivals. We want to do everything we can."

Coach Grider has been coaching high school football for a long time. His eldest son spent most of his growing up days on a football field with his father.

"It was like I had 60-80 big brothers," he said.

When Trent was at Richmond, Gunner saw his "brothers" huddling before a play. He ran out on the field as the ball was snapped under Friday night lights.

The umpire snatched up the 3-year-old in one arm and got him off the field.

"Yes, we've had our ups and downs," said Stacy Grider, Gunner's mom. "It's harder when it's your son out there. But he's a team player and he does what's best for everyone."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best football team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News