Grove wants to find his groove and lift G’s into playoffs, Greenacre plans to maintain Clare’s dominance
Statistically, Landon Grove is the most impressive quarterback in Gladwin’s storied history. Grove holds career totals of 2,647 passing yards, 771 rushing and total TDS 30 and holds the school records for passing yards in a season, game, and career. Grove is entering his senior campaign hoping to give the Flying G’s their first winning season since 2007. Gladwin has been right on the brink of turning the corner and turning into a serious threat to contend with the likes of Meridian and Clare for the last few years, but has yet to make the leap. The Tribune recently sat down and talked with Gladwin’s quarterback on his career, expectations, and how he anticipates the league to unfold this year.
JACK PINE TRIBUNE: You’re in your senior year, what are your goals for the year?
LANDON GROVE : My goals for this year are to play to the best of my ability and lead my team and school back to the playoffs, and win a conference championship which we have yet to do since joining the Jack Pine and I think we have the team that is capable to do so.
JPT: What guys have you seen stepping up this year?
LG: We have had a lot of people step us this year. Our weight room attendance has been the best since Coach Shattuck has arrived and I think it will really show this season against big physical teams like a Standish for example.
JPT: Talk about your career thus far, from coming in as a sophomore quarterback - which isn’t something that happens often at GHS - to battling through earlier season injuries last year and finishing strong.
LG: Coming up as a sophomore was really surprising to me. I remember the day it happened. We hosted a 7 on 7 and coach asked me to come throw with them just to see if I could play spot time if we were to make the playoffs because at that time to my knowledge Kegan Smith was the starter. I remember throwing very well and hitting Kegan on some bombs. After words I was at Piper’s Pup eating dinner when coach called and asked if he could stop by and talk, and that’s when he told me I was moving up.
It’s really been a roller coaster for me in a sense that we have had some big wins and some really heart breaking losses which made me a stronger person in the long run and gave me the toughness to play on a torn tendon in my knee. Most people told me I was stupid to play on a hurt knee like that but I felt as a leader and QB of my team I needed to do it no matter how much pain it caused me.
With that said I am looking to play a healthy senior season and put all of the lesson I’ve learned the last two years into play this year and have the best year yet.
JPT: Who are some of the guys you’ve enjoyed playing with the most over your career?
LG: I have loved playing with all my teammates but there are a few that stick out. Kegan Smith obviously would be one because he was just a crazy good player which resulted in him getting a scholarship to Hillsdale. Ray jones because he was just a beast at linebacker and he was one of those guys that you were glad was on your team. Zane Branch was a lot like ray. Trevor Camanse was my TB and guy I have ran the veer with for two years and I will definitely miss his leadership and enthusiasm.
JPT: What all camps have you attended to improve your quarterback skills?
LG: Over the last three years I have been enrolled in an academy called NFA (National Football Academies) in which they teach you skills, get you to eat right, train even harder than you think is possible and take the right supplements to fuel your body after those workouts. This year I have primarily been at colleges who are recruiting me, camps like Western Michigan, Ball State, Chicagoland Showcase, Valpo, Indiana State, Grand Valley, Ferris and so on, which thanks to NFA is the reason all of these colleges are looking at me because without them to mentor me I wouldn’t be the player I am today.
JPT: What are going to be the keys to success this year?
LG: Our success this year will be laid on the players. Our coaches have the right system in place, they’ve taught us what we are doing, we have put in the time in the weight room and now we just have to go out and just execute
JPT: And how would you define a successful season? Is it a conference championship? Or making the playoffs?
LG: A successful season to me would be a conference championship. We have the ability to do so and winning the conference obviously would put you in the playoffs to which is the bar minimum I plan on achieving.
JPT: Are there any particular players you are looking forward to going against this year? Do you have any rivals?
LG: I am looking forward to playing against the guys who really come out and play full out every play like a Mitch Greenacre from Clare. He is a top notch player and it should be fun playing against him one more time. As for personal rivals I don’t have any I just go out and play the team in front of me
JPT: How do you handle the pressure of being the quarterback?
LG: I handle the pressure by not thinking about the pressure. I just go out and play the best I can every week and if there’s still critics after that then well I guess that’s just part of playing the position.
JPT: What have been some of your best memories of your football career?
LG: Some of my best memories have just been spending all the time with my teammates and building an unbreakable brotherhood with all of them that you will remember the rest of your life, and obviously keeping the long win streak against Beaverton alive as well has been a great memory.
JPT: Who do you think the favorites are to win the league?
LG: When you think of a favorite Clare comes to mind right away. They have won the league for 4 or 5 years in a a row now I think and if you want to be the best which we want to be you have to beat the best
JPT: What do you think the keys to beating Clare and Meridian are?
LG: The keys to beating a tough team like Clare or Merdian is just going out and executing the game plan and not cower down just because you’re playing Clare for example. If we go out and just play like we can and execute there’s not a team we can’t beat….