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Goal-bound HJ Grigsby returns for JCA


Everyone who watched the Class 5A state championship football game saw how great the senior running backs were H.J. Grigsby It was finally suffering for Joliet Catholic.

He injured his right ankle after rushing for 233 yards in the first half. He tried to eliminate that in the second half. But the yards weren’t that easy for him and Hilltoppers.

Although his college future lay in football, Grigsby was determined to reshape his ankle for basketball season. He finally took the field in late January.

“I knew I would come back,” Grigsby said. “This was my senior year and it was a big decision to come back with my ankle issues. But it was my senior year and I wanted to come back.”

Grigsby played limited time on his return but was happy to be part of the team again.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of playing time, but I went to practice,” Grigsby said. “It’s always fun working with these guys.”

In the meantime, he committed to playing football for Kale. He will most likely be a running back.

“They were the last school to offer me,” he said. “They were talking to me but didn’t want to make a decision yet. They had too much feedback and didn’t know how to manage it.

“But they came to my house and made me an offer a few weeks later.”

Yes, the military lifestyle can be intimidating, but Grigsby is ready to embrace it.

“I want that feeling of discipline, too,” he said. “I want to be a better person when I leave university. I know it’s military or something, but I think I need it. I want this.”

H.J. Grigsby

Vincent D. Johnson/Daily Southtown

HJ Grigsby (7) of Joliet Catholic breaks loose against Nazareth during the first half of the Class 5A state championship game at Illinois State University’s Hancock Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Normal. (Vincent D. Johnson/Daily Southtown)

Joliet Catholic coach Adam De Groot How happy is Grigsby to be able to return and devote some time to the basketball team?

“Our team is full of kids who play multiple sports,” DeGrott said. “This is an honor for them. He may not be No. 1 on the basketball totem pole, but praise goes to kids like HJ, who are competing in three sports after injury to get back in the final few weeks of the season.

“That’s the kind of thing we have and I’m so lucky to coach. It’s really special. He’s a great kid. He really is.”

Grigsby said he would like to become a teacher, coach or principal in his future career. He plans to race for the Hilltoppers on the track starting this week.

Young Lions roar

Leo have the distinction of being one of 14 teams in the Southland with 19 defeats this season. The Lions also have the distinction of being one of 11 teams in the region to win a regional championship.

Second-seeded Leo defeated third-seeded host Julian (23-6) 45-39 in the Class 2A sectional on Friday.

The big news for the Lions (13-19) was that 32 of Leo’s 45 points were scored by freshmen, including the forward. Nate StephensHe played with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Other freshmen on the roster are guards Terrel Keys, Karon Shavers, Brandon Gandy And Brian Kizer. young striker Stephen Barz He added 8 points and 5 rebounds.

Jack Hayhurst (14) celebrates Beecher defeating Joliet Catholic in the Class 2A Westmont Regional championship game on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jeff Vorva/Daily Southtown)

Someone has to lose

All four teams in the Class 2A Clifton Central Regional are undefeated in 2024.

Beecher (32-0) is the only Illinois team undefeated all season. The Bobcats’ opponent in the semifinals on Wednesday is Bismark-Henning (30-3), which is undefeated in 2024, and both teams were defeated in the same manner in the other semifinal. Fieldcrest (32-1) and Manteno (27-4).

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.


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