NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa. (KCRG) - For two straight seasons, all the Liberty Lightning heard was that they couldn’t compete with the rest of the competition, and that they are too young.
“Some people kind of used that excuse for us that we were too young but, we don’t have any excuses now.” said senior Ben Houselog.
Now, the Bolts are all grown up.
“I think we’re just more excited and we feel more ready now that we have a year of varsity under our belt.” said senior Alec Boldt.
“We’re just ready to go out there and compete.”
This season is the first in program history that the Lightning will have a full senior class.
“We want to set a legacy here and it’s my class was the first freshman team here.” Boldt said.
“We were the original people here so we want to leave a good legacy and set that standard for how to play bolt football.”
“We call them the OB’s.” said head coach Jeff Gordon. “The original Bolts is the culture they have set. 365, everyday coming in the weight room and lifting before school and just setting that culture of you train in the morning and compete in the PM.”
The message of urgency that Gordon and the senior group have relayed to the team has been well received.
“They’ve never seen a senior cry in the locker room after their last game.” Gordon said. “So we’re really trying to preach a sense of urgency.”
“It feels a lot different.” Said senior Jack Ankenbauer. “Everyone has that sense of urgency, and we’re just playing as a whole group better. We’re more organized than we were last year and we know what to expect now.”
It’s a group that’s not afraid to be physical, especially after being beaten up by older and more experience teams for the past three seasons.
“It’s a violent game, it’s a physical game, and it kind of seems like society is moving away from that so the more we embrace it the more we think we’ll be successful on the football field.” Said Gordon.
Some teams may not take them seriously, but the Lightning are ready to compete for a state championship.
“We do 14 front squat presses every time we get in the weight room and visualize that state trophy and we’ve been doing that since our freshman year.” Ankenbauer said.
“Our eyes are on the state championship, that’s what we want to accomplish.” Said Houselog.
“It’d be cool being the first team from Liberty to do that and be the first team to make the playoffs but we just take it as we got to get better 1% each day.”
Liberty starts their season Friday, August 30th with a home game against City High.