LUMBERTON — Leading into high school football practice starting on Monday, The Robesonian’s sports staff is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Lumberton’s Braylan Grice is No. 1 on the list.
Grice enters his fourth season as the quarterback for the Pirates, but this season has two changes facing him this season. One is adjusting to a new coaching staff with Kelly Williamson taking over after Grice played his first three seasons with Mike Setzer, and the other is he will likely play on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker.
The coaching change brings about a new offensive play set that Grice is prepping for this summer.
“The move is going good. We’ve got a lot of new offensive plays and a new offensive game plan,” Grice said. “I feel like it’s going to make me a little better.”
Grice also is looking forward to being on the other side of the line for the first time in his high school career.
“I feel like I’m going to make a big impact on the defense with my athleticism,” Grice said. “I’m kind of happy because I played defense a little bit and I liked it.”
Having experience of scanning over defenses, Grice said the move could help make him a better decision maker in the pocket, as well as be able to read the field from his linebacker spot.
As a junior, Grice accounted for more than 2,700 yards of total offense. He tossed for 1,854 yards and 17 touchdowns, while also rushing for 901 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those marks helped him attain Robeson County Offensive Player of the Year status.
This season, Grice has new marks he wants to reach.
“This year I want to pass for more than 1,000 yards, and rush for 1,000 yards on top of that,” he said.
Lumberton finished 2-9 last season, with one win in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. With a new coaching staff coming in after that season, Grice said many people are overlooking the Pirates.
“I think a lot of people are already counting us out,” Grice said. “We want to surprise a lot of people.
“I feel like we’ve got a pretty good chance to make it deep in the playoffs.”
After admitting that last season he took his leadership role lightly, Grice said that this season won’t be the case.
“I feel like, the harder I work, the harder the team works,” Grice said. “I’m leading them a lot better this year because I was goofy last year. This year I’m more serious.”
Lumberton opens the season at Dillon on Aug. 17.