HUNTERSVILLE – Grant Bushinski’s personalities on and off the football field are quite different.

“I’m a total goofball off the field,” said Bushinski, a junior linebacker at SouthLake Christian Academy. “But you’ve got to be able to flip a switch when it’s time to get on the field.”

Bushinski was all business on the football field and he played well enough to be The Herald Weekly Defensive Player of the Year. He helped the Eagles to an 11-1 record and the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Division III championship. It was SouthLake’s first state title.

Bushinski, 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, had 109 tackles, 14 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, one interception and two fumble recoveries. He was named to the All-Carolina Piedmont Athletic Conference team and the NCISAA All-State squad.

“He is a throwback player with an old-school mentality,” SouthLake coach Bub O’Donnell said. “He did everything well. He stretches full speed, aggressively runs to the water hose at breaks and leaves the field last. He practices like a professional. All business.  He is the most unique player I ever coached.”

Bushinki led a defense that recorded three shutouts, including a 7-0 victory against Victory Christian in the state championship game. In two other games, the Eagles limited opponents to seven and six points, respectively.

“You’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work,” Bushinski said. “That’s all part of playing the game. Besides the physical stuff, you’ve got to have a football IQ. I tried to be a good practice player. We (SouthLake) had all the ingredients. We were a complete unit and a brotherhood. It was a great feeling.”

O’Donnell said one of Bushinski’s strengths was his versatility.

“Grant played inside and outside linebacker as well as some defensive end in long yardage situations,” he said. “He didn't leave the field on defense. In a 3-4 defense, he played mostly as outside linebacker, which is like asking a man to put a big `S’ (Superman) on his chest. He could play force versus the run, drop into pass in zone coverage and rush the quarterback on blitzes. He is a hybrid - some defensive line, linebacker and strong safety. The kid is a maniac, a non-stop motor, not to mention my best offensive blocker at H-back.”

Bushinski said he’ll work in the off-season to improve his speed and tackling technique. It’s often the rare tackles he misses that linger in his memory.

“I’ve got to get faster,” he said. “You want to be flying around the field.”


Herald Weekly 2013 Football Coach of the Year

Chad Grier has led Davidson Day football teams onto the field each of the past three Augusts. All three exited the field in December as a state champion. That’s a rare occurrence, made even rarer considering they’re the first three varsity teams in Davidson Day history. Grier is The Herald Weekly Football Coach of the Year.

The Patriots went 12-1 and crushed Harrells Christian 69-28 in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II championship game. Davidson Day averaged 53.4 points per game behind All-American quarterback Will Grier. The Patriots also improved their defense from last season and held six opponents to six points or less.