By Joseph Hayes
Maybe it was his attitude all along.
Port Huron Northern senior defensive end and tight end Braiden McGregor has taken the news in stride on his senior football season coming to a end prematurely because of a right knee injury.
The four-star University of Michigan commit was injured during the fourth quarter of the Crosstown Showdown rivalry game last Friday between Northern and Port Huron High School. Northern still found a way to escape with a 29-26 victory at Memorial Stadium.
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But Northern would have to do so without McGregor, and starting running back Theo Ellis Jr.
“I tore my MCL, my PCL and my meniscus,” McGregor said this week at Northern. “I have surgery next Tuesday and they said around six months for full recovery. When I got the news exactly what it was, it’s still pretty devastating to hear your senior season is done. But it’s not an ACL. It’s not a situation where I have to get redshirted. It’s nothing that’s too serious. I’m ready to get surgery done and start my rehab. I’m trying to get back for spring ball. That’s like four and a half and five months and do everything they say. Get off of it and rest it.”
McGregor intends to spend the upcoming weeks recovering from the injury and also helping coach up his teammates from the sidelines as they prepare for a playoff push. Northern (4-0, 6-1) returns Friday at Roseville with a chance to clinch the outright Macomb Area Conference Blue Division championship.
Last week against Port Huron, the Huskies clinched a share of the conference title. It was the first time in school history the team clinched at least a share of the conference crown in back-to-back seasons.
“I’m coming to practice pretty much every single day,” McGregor said. “Being out here, so if anyone wants to ask me a question about ‘what’s going on in this play.’ I’m still the same guy in the locker room and kind of like a cheerleader for them.
“It’s the big stage now as we get closer to the end of the season. I’m going to continue to be the same guy I was in the locker room and in our group chats.”
McGregor had a big impact for Northern in all three phases of the game. He started for the Huskies on special teams as a long snapper, in addition to playing offense and defense.
“He’s just a phenomenal kid that does a variety of things for us in all three phases,” Northern coach Larry Roelens said. “With his film study, he helps us too. He watched some film last night and was helping. He’s going to be a coach on the sidelines and be a good leader with the kids. Theo went down in the third quarter and we had a back up running back and two back up offensive linemen in the game in the fourth quarter.
“It’s just a testament to our team and our kids with a next man up mentality. Just playing hard. We are looking forward to this week against Roseville with a chance to win the outright league title. That’s what they have been playing for. They don’t want to share. They want to win it outright.”
Joseph Hayes is the new Managing Editor at Blue Water Healthy Living. Hayes was previously at the Port Huron Times Herald and hosted a show on Power 88.3. He has additional experience at The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and Jackson Citizen Patriot and WDFN 1130. Contact Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org