Grosdidier overcomes injuries in attempt to create Kernel football legacy

Mitchell's Josh Grosdidier (20) intercepts a Sioux Falls Christian pass while in coverage during a game on Friday, Sept. 4 at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Josh Grosdidier turned down an offer to wear his father Jamie’s old No. 33 this season.

He wanted to create his own legacy on the football field for Mitchell High School instead, but his biggest obstacle so far has been injuries.

The junior has suffered a broken femur, a broken collarbone and has broken his wrist three times during his athletic career, and after earning a starting job at outside linebacker and serving as the short-yardage running back this year, a dislocated shoulder in the second half against Sioux Falls Christian on Sept. 4 briefly threatened the remainder of his season.

A trip to the doctor quelled any thought of a more serious injury and Grosdidier was sidelined for one week. On Friday at Class 11AA No. 1 Yankton, he finally had a chance to step into the spotlight. Feeling healthy, Grosdidier resumed his duties periodically spelling Mitchell standout Parker Phillips. Except when he did, Grosdidier began to rack up yards and touchdowns.

He provided the Class 11AA No. 4 Kernels a power option he was rewarded with career-highs in attempts (21) and yards (99), while scoring all four of the team’s touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 34 seconds left in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Bucks.


“I definitely think injuries slowed me down a little bit,” Grosdidier said. “It kept me from getting more reps in drills and weight-lifting. But now I think I’m starting to get back into it and I’m getting my speed back.”

Mitchell head coach Kent Van Overschelde could see Grosdidier’s performance coming. Grosdidier had already been producing defensively, ranking second on the team with 40 tackles, including five for a loss and had another four-touchdown game against Douglas in the season opener.

“I think I enjoy defense a little more right now,” Grosdidier admitted. “Hitting people instead of getting hit is always more fun.”

In 2019, Grosdidier had a few moments to shine in mop-up duty despite playing with a broken wrist and Van Overschelde could see a big frame waiting for a growth spurt. He also saw characteristics in Grosdidier that reminded him of an old high school teammate at Mitchell -- Jamie.

Jamie Grosdidier ranks sixth on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,027 yards and 16 touchdowns and went on to play for South Dakota State University from 1987-1991, totaling 2,546 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns.

Jamie was also sandwiched in a line of 12 children, including brothers Jeff, Jason and Jeremy that all joined him in the top-30 of Mitchell’s all-time rushing leaders.


“I really noticed in fall camp that (Josh) had some of those same mannerisms and vision on the field to get those extra yards,” Van Overschelde said. “He seemed to mimic his father in some ways. Josh will continue to get faster as he gets older. I think that’s one thing our guys did well this summer and Josh benefited from that training.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Grosdidier does not mind the comparisons to his father, nor did he mind questions lobbed in his direction about eventually reaching Jamie’s level of success. The sound of his name over the public address system in Dell Rapids caused an opposing administrator to say, “There’s another Grosdidier?”

But with his effort against Yankton, it appears Grosdidier has earned a spot as a regular to spell Phillips in the offensive game plan and a chance to create his own path.

The Kernels are currently averaging 415.8 rushing yards per game -- which would shatter the previous record of 341.8 in 2016 -- and Phillips has sliced through defenses for 1,114 yards and 14 scores.

But Phillips has also accounted for 49.8 percent of the team’s yards and has touched the ball on 39.6 percent of the team’s plays this season. So, Van Overschelde wants to save him from as many hits as possible as playoff time nears.

“That inside running game and being the competitor that (Grosdidier) is just gives a different look,” Van Overschelde said. “It’s nice to have those guys available to us. If we can get Parker off the field for a couple snaps -- or even a series -- it makes us better as we go down the stretch.”

Grosdidier ranks fourth on the team with 174 yards and his attempts and yardage output against Yankton eclipsed his prior season totals in both categories. But 10 of his 37 attempts thus far have resulted in touchdowns.

His straight-ahead, bruising rushing style netted him the first of three carries during overtime and it should serve as a compliment to the shifty Phillips moving forward.


“I think it helps to add a little different dynamic to the offense to spice things up a bit and keep the defense on their toes,” Grosdidier said.

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