St. John High student proudly finds his place on the team

Andrew Green, Editor
Grant Cedotal (left) with St. John football head coach Crickett Crockett. Cedotal has been a key member of the St. John football team this season, and looks forward to playing basketball for the school.

Grant Cedotal is a freshman at St. John High School, a member of the football team, and a member of the basketball team, and doesn’t let his autism get in the way of being the best athlete he can be.  What is most important to Grant, however, is just wanting to be a part of the team.

Grant would be spotted on the sideline of the St. John football games, helmet always on, prepared to play when his name was called.  The special thing about seeing Grant on the sideline is that he was never alone.  One of Grant’s teammates usually had their arm around him, making sure he was okay, or getting him fired up for the game.

Earlier in the season, Cedotal was given the opportunity to run in a scoring touchdown at the JV game against Episcopal.  He received a full escort to the end zone, as his teammates and Episcopal players went through the blocking motions to make sure Grant knew what it was like to score a touchdown.

This was not the only shining moment Cedotal had been given.  In fact, he’s been taken under the wings of the St. John coaches and players all year round. 

“Grant’s a great kid,” coach Crickett Crockett said.  “And the kids love him.  No one shies away from him at all.”  The students at St. John do their best to make Grant feel loved and welcomed, and they make Grant feel like a real member of the team the best way they know how.

“There’s a lot of picking that goes on, of course,” Crockett said  “not in a bad way, but Grant picks right back.”

At football practice, coach Crockett lets Grant get involved in blocking drills, and he has sometimes been put in at the wide receiver position at the JV games throughout the year.  But if Grant doesn’t want to play in the game, he won’t.  If he wants to be involved he’ll be sure to let coach Crockett know.  “At the Episcopal game he (Grant) came up to me and said ‘Coach I want to get in the game’.  I said ‘okay’, and he said ‘you know what? I want to run the ball’,” Crockett said.  “I said ‘alright Grant it’s your call’, and the other kids were pumped.”  Coach Crockett said Grant’s St. John teammates were more excited than anyone about getting him in the game.

“It was just a great feeling for both teams,” Crockett said.  “It really was special.”

The first JV game Grant was put in was against Denham Springs, and Crockett remembers one of his favorite moments from Grant’s first football season.  “The quarterback fumbled the ball and they fell on it, and the official comes in with his hand raised to spot the ball and Grant runs up to him and gives him a high five,” Crockett laughed.  After practices, Grant took the opportunity to inspire the rest of the team with a few encouraging words.

“Even after losses when the team was down, I never saw Grant down,” Crockett said.  “You sit there and feel kind of down about losing, and I look over at Grant and he’s always smiling.  He’s uplifting to the whole team.” 

Now that football season is over, Grant looks forward to his season with the St. John basketball team, and Crockett looks forward to welcoming Grant back to the locker room next year.