Busser hopes to provide big presence for GV

ORWELL — Offensive linemen are often the unsung heros of a football team. They rarely receive the notoriety or limelight that the flashy quarterbacks or stud running backs receive on Friday nights in the fall. However, those skill-position stars would never get a chance to shine if not for the big guys blocking up front.

The Grand Valley Mustangs had two of the best skill-position players in the area last season in quarterback Michael McGovern and running back Eduardo Hernandez. Both players have since graduated and are playing football for Baldwin Wallace this year. The Mustangs offensive leaders benefited from great blocking by a solid offensive line.

The leader of that line is back for his senior year. Once again, Ryan Busser is the man in the middle. He’ll be snapping the ball and keeping his teammates uniforms clean as the center for Grand Valley.

“Michael was a big leader for us,” Busser said. “Sometimes, he would look to me for help on check downs.

“It was awesome blocking for an All-Ohio running back like Eduardo. We were very successful together.”

Busser, who also plays baseball, enjoyed his first year of varsity ball as a sophomore. That campaign he only played on special teams during kick coverage. Last season, Busser took over the reins of starting center and hasn’t looked back.

“Last season we came in and had a lot of open spots,” Busser said. “Coming in from the JV I said I was going to work as hard as I could to take over the center spot. It’s been mine ever since. I try to work as hard as I can to maintain that spot.”

“Last year, if you would have told me before the season that Ryan would be our starting center for 10 games, I probably wouldn’t have believed it,” GV coach John Glavickas said. “He did a great job for us. He studies our playbook. He’s a good student. He teaches other players on the practice field. His leadership is so valuable to us.”

The o-line is a close-knit group that features Chase Cottrell and Mason Shreve at tackles. Danny Gearhart is a guard, along with Busser’s brother Bradley.

“We’re very close,” Busser said. “In fact, the whole locker room is close. In football, the offensive line doesn’t get a lot of credit. It will be kind of cool playing right next to my brother, side by side.”

Grand Valley finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0 in 2017. It was their third-straight playoff appearance, yet the Mustangs have failed to taste a postseason victory. Grand Valley’s season came crashing to an end when Hernandez went down with a first-half injury in the 25-22 playoff loss to Wickliffe last November.

“We thought last year was our year,” Glavickas said. “Eddie was rolling, and then he blew out his ankle in the first half of that game. He was out of bounds and slowing down. He hit a rut and that was it.”

The 2018 Mustangs are not only looking to get back to the playoffs, but win in the postseason.

“I think we’re going to be able to make a run in the playoffs,” Busser said. “We have a lot of returning guys from last year’s team. We’re bigger up front this year. We have new guys stepping up to fill the void left by last year’s seniors.”

“I play defensive end as well. We have a smart group of guys.”

“We want to get over that hump. Our goal is not just to make the playoffs, but be successful in them,” Glavickas said.