Westside quarterback Alan Gregg is surrounded by players with more talent and by players who get more newspaper headlines.
Even Gregg admits it.
But that's fine by him. He says wide receiver and safety Tony LeZotte and running back Aundra Ellison deserve the accolades and the credit they receive.
Just don't question his pride and his toughness.
And, according to LeZotte, don't you dare question Gregg's worth to the team.
"He's a great quarterback," LeZotte said. "He doesn't make many mistakes, and that's what this offense is - not making mistakes. And he's one of the toughest guys I know. If you can say one thing about him, you can say he takes it for the team. He won't even tell you his shoulder popped out until the game's over."
Want an example of his determination? Just bring up the shoulder subject.
After dislocating his shoulder as an eighth-grader while wrestling with a friend, Gregg had to sit out his freshman year recovering from surgery.
It still hasn't healed quite right.
"It's popped out four times in the last three games," said Gregg, who also had knee surgery last summer. "It's definitely a matter of pride to play. You want your teammates to respect you and know that you'll play hard for them. You want people on the outside to say that you played the game right. Even if you don't play it well, you have to play it right."
Gregg, though, does both.
Completing 45 percent of his passes for 874 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions, Gregg is efficient with his throws.
"Quarterbacks are kind of like coaches - you don't notice them until they make a mistake," said Westside coach Gerald Barnes, whose team will travel to Appling County for Friday's 7:30 p.m. game. "He doesn't bring the headlines for us, but he has been consistent. He's had a good career here. I hope we can prolong it in the playoffs."
If that's the case, Gregg - a three-year starter for the Patriots - will continue to learn how to be a good quarterback.
"The learning for me has been substantial," Gregg said. "Coming in my sophomore year, after not playing since eighth grade, everything was new to me, and the game was so fast. I'm still learning."
Said LeZotte: "We've been playing against each other or with each other since pee-wee ball. Everybody has confidence with him under center. Every year, that confidence has grown."
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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