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Lightning readies to strike the gridiron

NORTH LIBERTY– In 2016, Liberty High School was under construction and future Liberty students were attending Iowa City West High School. However, some of those student athletes donned the black, purple and silver of their soon-to-be school and competed as The Lightning, The Lightning Bolts or more informally, The Bolts.
Twenty freshmen became the Original Bolts or O-Bolts as they put on the pads and helmets of Liberty’s first football team. They competed in the Cedar Rapids And Iowa City (CRANDIC) League with a 6-4 record, beating West and City High. Unfortunately, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Solon and Linn-Mar delivered punishing blowouts.
It’s 2017, the Bolts are back and recharged for more strikes and include: Jack Ankenbauer, Alec Boldt, Scott Dill, Cayden Duhaime, Andres Estrada, Carter Fedeler, Jonathan Gallman, Ben Houselog, Ben Kruger, Max Lenane, Brian Lively, Sam Nicklaus, Ryan Nugent, Evan Swartzendruber, Cole Tuttle, Robert Voight, Hunter White, Kaleb Williams, Drake Woody and Dawson Zimmerman.
Head Coach Jeff Gordon, who moved up with his Bolts, said four new sophomores have joined the Bolt-Mania Movement this season. Liberty also has 23 freshmen and five juniors out this year.
The challenge Gordon said, is “developing leadership and a sense of urgency to get better every day. Every rep, every drill, every play every day matters. We have to crank up the diesel every day and have an “Ain’t no deep freeze” mentality. You are either hunting or being hunted in the jungle.”
Liberty is un-affiliated this first year, meaning the Bolts are not in an athletic conference (Liberty joins the MVC in 2018). However the Iowa High School Athletic Association granted waivers allowing teams to play an additional game in order to give the Bolts games to play and teams to compete against. As most schools do sophomore/varsity doubleheaders, the schedule this year will seem odd to those used to attending Friday night games. Without a football field to call their own, the Bolts will again be gypsies traveling the region. Home games will be played at Iowa City West and at City High.
The Iowa City Community School District’s $192 million bond issue, if passed by voters on Sept. 12, will provide Liberty with an athletic complex in two years.
The season opens on Monday, Aug. 28, in Waverly against Waverly-Shell Rock. The first home game is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, at West High against Cedar Rapids Xavier with a 9 a.m. kick-off.