Athlete of the week: Harris Grace is an impact player for the Grangers

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

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Harris Grace is a different animal this year. The junior for the LaGrange Grangers has packed on the muscle and become a bruising outside linebacker for the team.

“I went to the gym everyday at 5:30 starting last semester,” Grace said. “Coach Drew Eady has been a big role model these last two years and has really helped me develop as a player.”

After a freshman year spent toiling away with the JV team, Grace made his impact felt as a sophomore. But after last season, Grace knew he needed to be better and he set to work and accomplished just that.

“Last year I didn’t expect to start, so when I got that first start last year I knew I had to put in some work in the offseason and make sure I’m hitting the gym everyday,” Grace said. “I also knew somebody was going to have to step up and be another leader for this defense and that is something I felt like I could do.”

Grace’s name is now written in pen on any Friday Night lineup. He has accumulated 11 tackles, one pass break up and an interception returned for a 77-yard touchdown. 

The big interception return for a touchdown against Northside was the biggest play of the young player’s career.

“I just saw the route and saw the quarterback look that way and jumped the route.” Grace said. “I didn’t know it was going to be a touchdown at first because I saw all the players coming after me, but I trusted my players to set up some blocks and they did.”

When he was in fourth grade Grace moved to Troup County. He did not know much about the area, but he knew of the Granger prowess and dreamed of suiting up in blue and white.

“When I moved here I knew that LaGrange was a big program,” Grace said. “Being a Granger is awesome. You have to be physical and put in the work and fight through adversity at all times.”

Grace has stepped to be a leader for the defense this season despite being just a junior. One of the important aspects of being a leader is accountability, something Grace has embraced after losing his cool in the opening game of the season against Carver (Atlanta).

“My goal this year is to be a better overall player,” Grace said. “I lost my composure in the Carver Atlanta game andI’m looking to not get so upset when things don’t go my way.

“I have to just move on and get ready for the next play.”

After last season saw the Grangers fall just short of winning a region title, but still earn a home playoff spot, Grace believes this year’s team has what it takes to go far.

“Our brotherhood this year is what stands out to me,” Grace said. “Even though we have lost our composure at times in the first two games, I know we are going to tighten up on that because we have a strong bond in that locker room.”

The Grangers enjoyed a bye week after the bounce back win against Northside, but the team was doing anything but resting on their laurels. LaGrange will have to play a battle tested Upson Lee squad on Friday.

“We are really looking forward to this game against Upson Lee because they think that because they are 3-0 that they are going to have an easy bye week, but that is not going to happen,” Grace said. 

LaGrange fans will have to go over a month without seeing Grace play at Callaway Stadium. The Grangers last played at home on Aug. 17 against Carver and will not play another home game until Sept. 21 against Whitewater.

In the meantime, the no. 10 jersey will be one to keep your eyes on as the Grangers continue their difficult road schedule to start the season.