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Conner Griest follows family footsteps at Biglerville

When the 2016 season ends for the Biglerville boys' soccer team, somewhat of a dynasty will end with it.

That being the nine-year run of the Canners having a Griest brother on their roster.

What started with Brady in 2008 continued with Koby, and is currently going on with senior Conner, has been an integral part of head coach Jebb Nelson's teams since he began coaching the Canners in 2010.

"It's kinda frightening that I'm a senior and it's my last year," Conner Griest said. "I always loved playing with my brothers and playing above my age group. I was always a little scared, but it made me focus more on what I needed to do."

Brady was a striker with blazing speed up top, Koby played a lot of defense but also in the midfield, and Conner is capable of playing anywhere that Nelson chooses to play him when a need arises.

Case in point: Conner paces the 2016 team in both goals and assists, but also draws the assignment of the opponent's biggest scoring threat if Nelson feels the need to have him mark the guy. In the team's season-opening tie with Gettysburg, Warrior senior star Matt Yingling scored both of his team's goals, but neither came with Griest covering him. The first came with Griest on the sideline, after drawing a yellow card, and the second came on a free kick.

"Brady's speed was phenomenal and it allowed us to create so much and Koby was a tank. He'd bust through anything and get to the ball no matter what," Nelson said. "Conner has the best of both of them and he can be our best player on the field at any position he plays."

Griest is one of six seniors on the Canners' roster this season, a group that were freshmen when the team captured the 2013 district title and also won division titles in 2013 and 2014.

"He's not an overly serious guy until it's time to play. We joke around a lot," senior Jared Dotson-Jones said. "But once he's on the field, he's a different guy. He's super focused and ready to go."

All three brothers competed in soccer, basketball and baseball while at Biglerville and Brady and Koby have both played soccer and baseball at Penn State Mont Alto.

Conner is looking to continue his soccer career past this season while eyeing a major in Sports Management or Business Management. His top three college choices so far are McDaniel College, Shippensburg University and York College.

Griest has scored seven times this season and 28 times in his career, and Nelson wondered what it would be like next season when he doesn't have any of the trio.

"It'll be different, that's for sure," Nelson said. "I've never had a team without one of them and they've all been a huge part of the success that we've had here."

After ceding the division championship to Bermudian Springs last season, the Canners have raced to the top of YAIAA III table by winning their first six division matches, including a 5-2 win on the road over the Eagles on Tuesday.

"That was definitely a statement by us," Griest said of beating Bermudian. "They did a great job last season winning the division, but we're trying to take it back from them this year."