In its 30th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Andrew Grinde of C.M. Russell High School as its 2014-15 Gatorade Montana Football Player of the Year. Grinde is the third Gatorade Montana Football Player of the Year to be chosen from C.M. Russell High School.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Grinde as Montana's best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Grinde joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound junior running back rushed for 2,180 yards and 20 touchdowns on 328 carries this past season, leading the Rustlers to a 10-3 record and the Class AA state championship game. Grinde also caught 31 passes for 489 yards and three touchdowns. He was a First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-State selection as a sophomore.
Grinde has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. Vice president of his graduating class, he has served as an elementary school tutor in addition to volunteering locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, the United Way and a youth soccer team.
“Grinde is the best back I've seen in a long time,” said Paul Klaboe, head coach at Billings West High. “He's strong and fast and hard to bring down. All 11 guys know he's getting the ball and still can't bring him down.”
Grinde will begin his senior year of high school next fall.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.
Grinde joins recent Gatorade Montana Football Players of the Year Will Dissly (2013-14, Bozeman High School), Gunnar Brekke (2012-13, Capital High School), Caleb Kidder (2011-12, Capital High School), Tanner Roderick (2010-11, Bozeman High School), Matt Miller (2009-10, Capital), Brock Osweiler (2008-09, Flathead High School) and Casey McMillan (2007-08, Central Catholic) among the state's list of former award winners.
To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.