NEW IBERIA — As Highland Baptist sophomore running back Brontré Griffin prepares for a huge matchup with undefeated Ascension Episcopal on Friday, he’s doing his best to follow advice from his parents and his grandmother.
“I have to stay really humble and hopefully strive to do better game by game,” Griffin said. “It’s basically how I was raised. My parents and grandma taught me to stay humble and good things will come. I just pray before every game, put it in God’s hands and whatever happens, happens.”
Don’t take that humility and that even temperament for softness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite according to Highland coach Artie Liuzza.
Liuzza said Griffin runs with a fierceness on the football field he hasn’t seen in too many running backs.
“Brontré runs angry,” Liuzza said. “He takes pride in not letting one man bring him down. He’s been with us since eighth grade and it just comes natural to him. That is just how he runs with the football.”
Last Friday against Gueydan, Griffin channeled that fierce anger and rushed for 313 yards and seven touchdowns in the Bears’ 63-19 win. He is leading the state with 1,867 yards and 31 touchdowns thus far in 2015.
Liuzza said the fact that Griffin’s just a sophomore and putting up those types of numbers is very promising for the future.
“He works hard, but he’s still learning how to work hard and still learning the finer points of the game,” Liuzza said. “As he continues to grow, he just gets better and better.”
Griffin said he wanted to play running back since he was a kid, but his speed usually forced him into the defensive backfield. Then last season, when one of the seniors went down, Griffin was given his opportunity to play running back.
“I was thrown into the position and I was asked to make a big step and put the team on my back,” Griffin said. “I answered that challenge and I fell in love with the position.”
Liuzza said Griffin suffers from a bit of a care-free attitude and has a of growing to do before he can fully reach his potential.
“He’s got a little ways to go to learn that the little things matter,” Liuzza said. “The details. That’s a problem you have with a lot of the younger kids and remember, he’s just a sophomore. Once those things start to click for him, the sky’s the limit.”
Griffin said he sees himself as a smarter running back this year compared to his freshman season a year ago. He said he’s well aware of his potential to break several area and school records. He acknowledged that it would be “kinda cool” to be recognized among the all-time backs, but in the end, it goes back to humility.
“I was OK (my freshman year),” Griffin said. “I wasn’t that smart, but now I’m getting smarter and trying to reach my full potential. I feel like one day I will get there.
“I heard I could maybe break the Iberia Parish record and break the school record. I hope I can be up there with some of the all-time backs in Iberia Parish and being in that category amongst the great backs in Iberia Parish history. Through it all, I’m just trying to get better and stay humble.”