Column: Friday night lights closer than they appear

Published 11:32 am Monday, August 1, 2022

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Throughout the last two weeks, I have been working closely with the local high school football players and coaches compiling all the info I need to create the 2022 Kickoff magazine.

This is by far the biggest publication I have been tasked with in my short journalism career, but the experience so far creating it has been second to none.

Growing up in Troutman, North Carolina, I was lucky enough to attend a high school with a rich football tradition and program. In 2012, my alma mater South Iredell captured the school’s first Class 2A state title, and it is still one of the coolest experiences in my life.

Now in 2022, I get to work behind the scenes with seven local high schools in their preparations to make a run at their own state championship.

High school football is just different. The marching bands, the packed bleachers, the local rivalries that build and local legends that are made are some of the best things about high school football.

Every player I have talked to while making the magazine will be a senior this upcoming year. Hearing them talk about their experience at their respective schools, and their expectations for the upcoming season, you cannot help but get overly excited that Friday night lights are just around the corner.

Each player had a different angle when asked how they are approaching their final season. One said he is just taking it all in every practice, while one said the only thing on his mind is winning a state championship. Others want to establish themselves as a crucial piece for their teams, and hopefully parlay that into college scholarships.

Nevertheless, Chilton County has some outstanding young athletes that will be able to showcase their skill sets on the field this fall.

Hearing the coaches talk about the teams they have worked all spring and summer to get ready for season gets you juiced up as well. Every coach in the county has their own expectations for their program, and know what is expected. Some are expecting nearly perfect seasons, while others hope to continue to build their programs with a winning record.

The Kickoff magazine is something I have been excited for since I started in February. The trust people are showing in me to complete it is great is a part of the excitement. Also, getting to hear how a coach makes a program go throughout preseason preparations is what I have enjoyed the most throughout the process.

Myself and two fantastic photographers, Brandon Sumrall and Keith McCoy, have been trying to make this Kickoff magazine the best edition yet. Copies will be in the newspaper on Aug. 24 and copies will be available at select football games on Aug. 25-26. I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I have putting it together.