Tigers aim to dominate homecoming

Friday night lights are upon us as Gillett and his teammates are ready to take the field against the 3-3, Cedar Rapids Washington Lions.

“We’re all football smart, very experienced players. We get along really well and have good team chemistry,” starting quarterback Luke Gillett said.

This week, Gillett said, the team worked on sharpening up, running the same plays in order to secure a win and fixing up the little mistakes.

“We don’t want to switch up a lot, and Washington is a good team. We don’t want to be out there not knowing what we’re doing.”

Due to a knee injury last season, Gillett was out after the fourth game of the season and did not play in the homecoming game last year against West.

Gillett said his knee is feeling great, and he has not had any issues with it and is ready to play in this game.

“I’m excited. A lot of people will be watching this game, and it’s a good opponent to play against. It’ll be a fun night.”

There are a lot of things to be learned, gained and shared through playing football growing up. One thing that Gillett said he has taken away and will keep with him is the friendships that he has made throughout the years.

“I’ve made a lot of friendships within playing football. Some people I would’ve never been friends with, and I’m making friends with people that I’ll have for life, so that is pretty cool.”

Gillett said it is a great thing to see when many of his friends are getting opportunities at the next level, after high school.

“It’s exciting. I’m sure, after high school, we’ll run into each other whether being on the same team or against each other.”

This team is physical, smart and athletic. A lot of this comes from leadership and voices on the field from seniors Austin Smiley, Colin Klatt and junior Jack Campbell.

A good friend of Gillett’s and one of the many leaders on the football field, defensive end and fullback Klatt said the feeling of playing under the lights every Friday night is unreal.

“I have experienced a lot of games in the Dome, but I still get goosebumps and a rush of adrenaline every time I step on that turf as the garage door opens,” Klatt said.

In order to prepare for this homecoming game, Klatt said he and other players follow the coach’s plan each day.

He also said he tries to mentally prepare each day and on game days. He prays as a pregame ritual.

“Football for me personally has taught me a bunch of life lessons. It showed me that if you work hard for something, you can have it.”

Both seniors agree that the season has been going well — being 4-1, the only loss to one of the top teams in the state, Iowa City West.

Klatt and Gillett also agreed that the pressure may be on for this homecoming game. Klatt said that there is more pressure from themselves in order to prove dominance in the district.

“It’s a bad feeling after a loss, especially after homecoming. It’s better to be on the dance floor after a win,” Gillett said.

Fans can support for the boys playing under the lights this homecoming game by wearing purple in honor of suicide prevention and awareness.

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