Knoxville — The sounds of the crowd, feel of the cool October air, smells of popcorn, there’s just something unique about high school football Friday nights. Hundreds or thousands of spectators attend the games but very few have ever experienced the stunning and unique experience of what happens in the weight room in June, on the practice field in July, then in the locker rooms and on the sidelines on game night, then in the hallways of the school after a thrilling victory, or heartwrenching defeat.
Friday is pretty normal on the outside to most people, but as soon as that bell rings at 3:07 you just get into a different mindset. You wake up on that Friday morning and you know the day is different. You've been thinking about and practicing for this game since the buzzer sounded after the last one, either 6 days or 9 months ago. You learned and corrected things from that night, but as soon as you can your mind shifts to the next week's opponent.
You immediately start to watch film, analyzing their offense for tendencies, their defense for weakness and places to exploit. Then practices are geared toward the plays they'll run and their defenses. You've been going since June, lifting, running, camps, two-a-days, regular practice, team pictures, film sessions and everything else...and then game day is here.
The school day is relatively normal, but again, that’s all on the outside; inside you know it's not. School is merely something you have to endure before every last distraction is out of the way and it's time to mentally focus 100% on the game. Once the bell rings at 3:07 you absolutely snap into a different mindset. Not much is funny. You develop a sense of mental and physical tunnel vision; your face even changes. You don't necessarily frown but have a deep, stoic look where you and everyone around knows there is one thing on your mind.