After Finding Fame on 'The Voice,' Lape Making Name at Home as Grass Lake's QB1

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

September 12, 2023

GRASS LAKE – Brayden Lape made a national name for himself while competing on Season 22 of “The Voice” on NBC. 

Southeast & BorderOn Friday nights in south-central Michigan, the Grass Lake junior is becoming Mr. Quarterback.  

“I’ll kid with him all of the time,” Grass Lake head coach Randy Cole said. “I tell him, ‘I want you to be known as a quarterback.’ He’s off to a good start.” 

Lape has directed the Warriors offense during a 3-0 start to the season. In his second as the Grass Lake starting quarterback, Lape is more confident and ready for the heart of the schedule in the expanded Cascades Conference. 

“He’s kind of your classic, tall quarterback with a big arm,” Cole said. “He can move and is athletic, but he’s mainly a pocket passer.” 

Through three games, Lape has thrown for 729 yards while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. Ten have gone for touchdowns. His favorite targets have been Bryant Cook (13 receptions for 263 yards) and Robert Anderson (14-190). He’s completed passes to six receivers. 

“I think this year is a year that we have taken pride in our offense,” Lape said. “We have a lot of threats. It’s hard to stop.” 

Playing football is more than a side gig for Lape, a three-sport athlete at Grass Lake. Cole watched him grow up from a tall, lanky kid with a rocket arm in middle school to a more mature passer in high school. Lape took a lot of snaps as a freshman and moved into the starting role as a sophomore.  

This year his confidence level is at an all-time high. 

“I have my guys now, the guys I’ve played with since I was little,” Lape said. “In my freshman and sophomore years it was awesome to play with older kids, guys who were bigger, faster, and stronger than me. You know you are getting better with every snap. Being able to play a little bit as a freshman helped me. I was able to get the varsity experience.” 

Grass Lake has a rich football tradition with 16 playoff appearances over the last 18 seasons including 12 straight from 2005-16, a Division 7 runner-up finish in 2006 and five more District titles over the last two decades plus more recently finishes of 8-2 in 2018 and 9-2 in 2019.

The last couple of years, however, Lape said, the Warriors weren’t playing as well as they should have. 

“The past two years we weren’t as good as we should have been,” he noted of the team’s 2-7 and 5-5 finishes in 2021 and 2022, respectively. “Last year we lost a game we probably shouldn’t have in the first round of Districts.” 

Grass Lake started this season with wins over Royal Oak Shrine Catholic, Hanover-Horton and Jonesville. The schedule coming up looks daunting, however, with 2-1 East Jackson this week 3-0 Napoleon the next, and 3-0 Manchester down the road.  

The Cascades Conference has expanded to 12 teams and split into East and West divisions. Grass Lake is in the East, which currently has three undefeated teams – the Warriors plus Napoleon and Manchester. 

Lape said the different look to the conference has added something fun to the schedule. 

“It’s something new. We get to play some new teams we haven’t seen before, but we still have our rivals,” he said. “It gives us some different looks. The end goal is to go far in the playoffs. You can go undefeated and lose the first round of Districts and that’s that. You’re out. 

“We have to step up, especially in these next few games,” Lape added. “We cannot settle right now with being 3-0.” 

Lape has done an amazing job balancing high school sports with his other passion – music. 

Lape performs this summer at the Jackson County Fair. While home during COVID-19, he picked up the guitar and began performing. His family encouraged him to audition for “The Voice” and he earned a spot on the show, eventually becoming part of Blake Shelton’s team. After finishing fifth in the competition and capturing the attention of fans nationwide, Lape released his debut single, “Hand It to Ya.” 

This past summer he went on a mini tour of the Atlantic Coast, including a stop in Maine, and played locally at venues like Meckley’s Farm and the Jackson County Fair. He released his second single, “Feels Like the First Time,” just before football practice started in August.  

The son of Kari Ann and Bryan Lape said he has found a way to balance music with sports – all while remaining focused on schoolwork at Grass Lake. 

“This summer I got to play some great gigs,” he said. “My family has really helped me with that. We’ve built out a schedule. I’m busy, but I still have a chance to be a kid.” 

Lape draws parallels between football and music, especially the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful at both. 

“One thing that I’ve realized is singing is not something that is easy,” he said. “It is something that has a lot of tiny things that you don’t see on the outside. If you are pursuing a career, there’s a lot to do.” 

One of those things is being active on social media and engaging with fans. He does that himself.  

Lape said his Grass Lake teammates are his best supporters.  

“They have their little funny comments, but they are just messing around,” he said. “The guys on my team are wanting what is best for me. They really want me to succeed. They listen to my music and let me know things they like and things they thought would be cool. For me, a guy starting his musical career, it’s really helpful.” 

Lape has no plans to give up sports or music. He’s found a way to make both work.  

“You only go to high school once,” he said. “I can only play high school football for these four years. You only get this high school experience once. I am going to continue my music, post as often as I can and play sports. I’m still a kid. I’m still a high school kid.”

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Brayden Lape takes the field as Grass Lake’s quarterback. (Middle) Lape performs this summer at the Jackson County Fair. (Top photo by Austin Childs, middle photo courtesy of Brayden Lape.)