CLOSER LOOK: Norco’s Grant Gray

GRAY

Take a closer look at Norco junior Grant Gray and you’ll see the player who probably benefitted the most from the offseason training at The Winner’s Circle.

Gray was able to get the reps he would not have otherwise, massively important as his body continues to fill out at 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, and it has meant an important role in the offense this year for the Cougars (2-0 overall), who continue to dominate 2021 and stay No. 1.

The primary target for QB Kyle Crum, Gray also has a target on his back as defensive coordinators scheme to shut him down and use double teams to prevent him from making big plays.

Gray had 23 catches for 400-plus yards and five TDs in the Spring Season, and is well on his way to surpassing those numbers this fall.

We caught up with Gray after Norco 40-22 victory over Santa Margarita. He had a career-high 10 receptions for 120 yards and two TDs as the Cougars ran away in the second half.

InlandFieldhouse.com: What did you guys talk about at halftime that led to more offense?
Grant Gray: “We just talked about our one-on-one matchups because we know that with our chemistry that we’d be better, and have the better connection going into the the third quarter and fourth quarter. So we really keyed on those one-on-ones and the short routes and we knew it would open up sooner or later.”

IF: How are you managing the target on your back as the No. 1 receiver for this team?
GG: “Just coming to practice every day and working my butt off, and trying to be the best person I can be.”

IF: How did the success in the Spring Season change this team’s outlook this fall?
GG: “We saw that last year’s seniors couldn’t get a full season so it showed us that this can be taken away in the blink of an eye, so we come out and work as hard as we can every single day to beat teams like (Santa Margarita), and as you can see it works.”

IF: How much did Winner’s Circle prepare you for what you’re doing now?
GG: “It really helped me to go against the best competition in Southern California pushed me to be the best that I can. I don’t know if I’d be right here where I’m at if I didn’t face those people in the ‘Champions League’ at the underground league.”

IF: You were able to play with Kyle Crum all that time so how important what that experience, in hindsight?
BP: “It boosted our chemistry a lot because we were working for six weeks when others weren’t.”

IF: What’s the mindset of this team with so many big games ahead?
BP: “We’re one-game-at-a-time but now we put it behind us and come back on Monday and work as hard as we can because not every Friday is gifted to us.”

IF: Do you think about playing football after you graduate?
BP: “Absolutely. I’m always thinking about football. It never comes off my mind.”

Feature photo courtesy Jerry Soifer

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