Granger senior happy to be back

Published 12:25 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It’s not how he envisioned his senior year playing out.

As a new season approached, PJ Thompson was looking forward to being a starter on the defensive line and a key contributor for the LaGrange Grangers.

Before Thompson had played his first regular-season game, though, that plan was derailed.

Thompson found himself experiencing severe pain one morning, and soon after, he was in a hospital having his appendix removed.

“I came to school, and I noticed the pain when I woke up that morning,” Thompson said. “It was just hard to lay down, move or anything. They took me to the emergency room and gave me a cat scan, and it was inflamed. It could burst, so they took it out.”

Suddenly Thompson was faced with perhaps never again playing the sport that had come to mean so much to him.

Thompson stayed positive, though, and eventually he was cleared to rejoin the team, and he played in the fifth game of the season.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to play,” Thompson said. “The doctor was like, I don’t know if you’ll be able to play football again. So that brought me down a lot. So I just prayed a lot, and they said I could come back. I came back for the Central game.”

Thompson and his teammates will be at Sandy Creek tonight as LaGrange seeks its first victory of the season.

The Grangers are 0-8, and while the record is disappointing, that Thompson has been able to play at all is a victory.

“It meant a lot to be able to put the LaGrange helmet back on,” Thompson said. “I love being a Granger.”

While Thompson was out of action, he was still a part of the team.

“I came to practices when I was able to, and tried to get them up during the games,” Thompson said. “I did as much as I could.”

After a recovery period, Thompson was able to become physically active again.

“I just ran around the track to try to get my conditioning back,” Thompson said. “I laid in bed for about two, two and a half weeks. So after a couple of days I was back where I was.”

Thompson’s goal now is try to help the Grangers secure a breakthrough win, and they’ll get that opportunity tonight against the Patriots in Tyrone.

“It would be awesome,” he said. “We’ve got the mindset that we need. All we need to do is go up there and play Granger football.”

Whatever happens tonight and beyond, Thompson said he and his teammates will stick together and be there for one another.

“Most people might walk off. But for us to stick together as a team, and keep working, that says a lot,” Thompson said. “And football teaches you a lot, too.”