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Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's accidental starting quarterback

Grant Kraemer stepped in as Notre Dame's QB after the likely starter transferred out. Fortunately, his father is the team's offensive line coach.

September 12, 2013|Eric Sondheimer

In 19 years of marriage, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Kraemer said, not once did his wife, Cynthia, ask about the offensive line's duties. Now that their son, Grant, has become the starting quarterback, trouble could be brewing.

"I have a bone to pick with you," Cynthia told her husband the other day. "Your guys have to block longer so my son can throw the ball."

Welcome to their world.

And if the new quarterback doesn't have enough to worry about, his younger brother, Derek, a sophomore at Notre Dame, is doing commentary for the school online, and he's promising to hold nothing back.

Luckily for everyone, Grant has shown he's ready to take on any and all challenges. Since the fifth grade, when his father told him, "Us Kraemers play on the line, not quarterback," Grant has ignored the skeptics.

He became the starting quarterback on Notre Dame's freshman team only after an injury to the starter. He was the starting quarterback on junior varsity as a sophomore. He was a backup receiver on varsity last season as a junior and was never expected to play quarterback again until the likely starter, Tyler Hilinski, decided to transfer last winter to Upland. Suddenly, Notre Dame had no experienced quarterbacks in its program.

While many waited to see if someone would transfer in (that's the way things happen in high school football these days), Kraemer went back into quarterback mode.

"As soon as I heard Tyler left during basketball season, that's when I started throwing and working out," he said. "I knew it was my time, and I was going to have the opportunity to play quarterback. I was working my butt off to make up for lost time."

Kraemer, 6 feet 3, 190 pounds, has led Notre Dame to a 2-0 start going into a Friday night game against No. 5-ranked Gardena Serra (2-0) at Serra.

In wins over Manhattan Beach Mira Costa and Loomis Del Oro, he has completed 20 of 32 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 116 yards in 11 carries and scoring two touchdowns.

He's making good decisions, staying calm and confident and proving that sometimes quarterbacks should stick it out and wait for their opportunity to show what they can do.

"It's always been my dream to play quarterback," Kraemer said. "If Tyler didn't leave, I was going to try to play receiver. It happened to work out for the best."

Now, if only Kraemer can make it through all the family drama, such as brother Derek's promise, "You better be nice to me, because I have the power of the microphone."

Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said his quarterback's father, in his 34th season at Notre Dame, is "coaching with a little more fervor this year."

He better be, because his wife is suddenly paying close attention to the line play.

Said Grant: "She's a protective mom. She doesn't want to see her son hurt."


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