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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK : Grant Stands Tall Among City Rushers

November 18, 1987|CHRIS J. PARKER

Almost everyone sells Chip Grant short except Grant himself. That's because almost everyone thinks the 5-foot, 6-inch North Hollywood running back is too short.

Except Grant.

"I don't see it as being a minus," Grant said.

Few would argue after Grant's performance in North Hollywood's 45-27 victory over Poly on Friday. Grant rushed for 327 yards in 31 carries and scored 5 touchdowns.

"That was a nightmare and we don't want to discuss it anymore," Poly Coach Kevin Kennedy said half-jokingly. "He's a great running back and he did a good job. He ran all over the place."

Actually, there had been doubt about Grant's ability.

Some Pac 8 League coaches who asked to remain unnamed rated Grant as low as third among league running backs, saying that Grant benefits from a heavy workload and a large offensive line.

"I don't think it would make me any better than I am," Grant said of being taller. "I don't feel that anyone is better than me."

He might be right. No other back in the Valley area--not even Crespi's Russell White--can match Grant's numbers.

He leads area backs in rushing with 1,736 yards and has 25 touchdowns. He is the only running back this season to rush for more than 300 yards in a game, and he did it twice.

"Grant has got to be at the top," said Kennedy when asked to name the area's top backs.

Kennedy still was reeling from Grant's performance, which featured touchdown jaunts of 77 and 78 yards and three more scoring runs from inside the five-yard line. Still Grant wanted the ball. "I was actually looking for more this game," he said.

Grant would be closer to his goal of 2,000 yards but twisted an ankle and carried only nine times for six yards against University four weeks ago.

With only one regular-season game remaining in which to meet his goal--North Hollywood's City Section 2-A playoff chances are slim--Grant needs 264 yards against Grant High, a team that allows 103.4 yards rushing per game.

"I plan on having a pretty special game against Grant," he said. "I want to get 2,000 yards. It's just a big number, but it's something I had my eyes set on."

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