Grinestaff leading MTZ into season opener

Published 08/27 2014 04:36PM

Updated 08/27 2014 06:42PM

MT. ZION, Ill. - Payton Grinestaff's first year at quarterback didn't start well.

"I think he had like seven picks in the first four games," said Mt. Zion head coach Mike Popovich.

But it finished great.

"[He] didn't throw another one the last five games and got better every week," Popovich said.  "You can't say that about a lot of kids, and he is definitely not satisfied."

"It slowed down quite a bit," said Grinestaff.  "You could see my reads more clearly now, and it makes the throws a lot easier."

Grinestaff has two older brothers that both played football at Mt. Zion.  One of them holds a lot of school records in the same position he plays.

"Jordan, he liked to throw it a lot in [former coach Tim] Nolen's offense," he said.  "I grew up with that living over me."

Payton's brother Jordan holds school records in yards, completions and touchdowns, but Payton is interested in just one statistic.

"I'm not really worried about myself as long as we get wins," he said.  "It's basically a team sport, so I don't really focus on myself."

But he may get some records in the classroom.  Payton is a "straight A" student.  In football he is also a student of the game.

"You have to study a lot for what you're going to see that next week," he said.  "If you don't, you're going to be lost going into that game.  I just try to do what I do in the classroom on the field."

"He's more intelligent than any kid I've ever coached," Popovich said.  "That says a lot about him.  He is just one of those kids that you love that's a program-changer.  Everybody follows him, and he's just a great kid."

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