Glenbrook North football team pulling together after deaths of Northbrook students
Glenbrook North running back Grant Rushing is back healthy after battling injuries a year ago. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 20, 2012 10:50AM
NORTHBROOK — Everybody knows what Grant Rushing can do when he’s running with the ball in his hands.
People will find out this year how good he can be chasing down others.
Glenbrook North coach Bob Pieper said the incoming senior will be a major player on defense for the first time with the Spartans. Pieper pegs Rushing as an outside linebacker, a position he will possibly play at the next level.
“He played defense sparingly for us last year,” Pieper said. “But he’s athletic enough to get the job done.”
At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Rushing is one of the bigger running backs in the CSL. He was the North Division offensive player of the year as a sophomore, while Rushing’s junior season was interrupted by a shoulder injury.
“He’s back to full strength, and he looks great,” said Pieper, whose club missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008. “Grant can get outside for yards and also get those tough yards inside. Plus, when he gets into that open field, he’s tough to tackle because of his size.”
Rushing and the Spartans left for Illinois Wesleyan’s team camp last weekend. They finally will get a chance to catch up on football after spending the early part of the summer coping with tragedies.
Seniors Billy Garrity and Kyle Caraher both died within three weeks of each other. Caraher was a returning starter on the offensive line, and Garrity was to help out at wide receiver and defensive back.
“We’ve been doing a lot more than football, obviously,” Pieper said. “We’ve had to cancel a lot of practices. But football is pulling us together as well as putting things into perspective. We are doing as well as we can right now, and I give the kids credit for where they are right now.
“It’s not been easy.”
Last week was Glenbrook North’s first full week on the field together. The Spartans competed at the CSL 7-on-7 tournament and also at the CSL Lineman Challenge.
“Football’s brought us together and maybe has taken our mind off of things for a couple of hours,” Pieper said. “The coaches and teams in the conference were great last week. A lot of them came up to me and told me they were thinking and praying for us. I couldn’t ask for anything more from them. The support has been great.”
On the field, quarterback is up for grabs after the graduation of Curt Petty. Pieper said the trip to Illinois Wesleyan will help sort out the position.
The competition is among five players, including seniors T.J. Tedeschi and Cody Bolan and juniors Michael Keane, A.J. Spitz and Matt Wolas.
Tedeschi served as backup to Petty last season and also made all-conference at linebacker. Spitz was the starting quarterback for the sophomore team.
All five played at the CSL tournament last week.
“It’s been good,” Pieper said. “We’re letting them all get practice time. We will get a really good look at them at camp. That will help us out tremendously.”