Seniors Jarrett Smith and Reid Thompson travel to compete in All-American football games

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Seniors Jarrett Smith and Reid Thompson travel to compete in All-American football games

Lukas Zywicki, Writer

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Jarrett Smith

Date of game: Feb. 19, 2017
Result: 36-20 Texas

As senior Jarrett Smith tied up his cleat laces at the Texas vs. The World Football Game at Desoto High School in Dallas, Texas, he thought about what this experience would mean to him. In February, Smith received the opportunity to play in this next level game. Although this may seem like a nerve wracking experience, this was not Smith’s first rodeo; he participated in games like this before.

“I have participated in three National Underclassmen Combine (NUC) events since the 9th grade,” Smith said. “NUC hosts this senior game in Desoto-Dallas, Texas. I did well in the combines and was even invited and competed in the Midwest Top 100 event in Indianapolis in 10th grade. NUC was aware of my abilities and kept track of my progress throughout high school.”

With the knowledge Smith has, he realized he could not have afforded to take a break from football between the end of the season and the start of his college season.

“I continued to workout, run, lift and eat healthy including lots of protein,” Smith said. “I have also maintained my playing weight of about 250 pounds. I’ve been putting on more muscle and working on cardio as well. Usually after the high school football season, I would take more time off. This year, I took two weeks off to recover from the football season.”

While Smith was there to play in the game, for him it was not all about football. He used it as a learning experience.

“Although it was a high school event, it seemed like a college one because everything was so big,” Smith said. “The stadium alone held up to 10,000 people, and the fan base seemed like college because there are so many people. At home in Fenton, it seems as though we take football seriously. Then I went to Texas, and it was on a completely different level; it changed my whole perspective.”

Smith said that he will be using what he learned not only on the playing field, but in other ways. It will help him in life and in his time playing football at Oberlin College.

Reid Thompson

Date of game: Jan. 14, 2017
Result: 27-7 Grey

As senior Reid Thompson prepared his highlight reel, he hoped for a chance to showcase his skills. In January Thompson received his chance, playing in the Blue and Grey High School All-American Football game in Jacksonville, Florida on Jan. 14.

“I think it was my film that did it for me,” Thompson said. “I had 94 knockdowns on the season which is a pretty crazy number. My name is big in the state because I was awarded a spot on the Detroit Free Press’ ‘All-State Dream Team’”

Participating in this game means that players have already shown excellence on the gridiron. For Thompson, though, his current skill set was not enough; he wanted more.

“I was working out six days a week,” Thompson said. “Lifting every day, then on Sundays, I was conditioning to make sure my body was in football shape. Knowing I’d be competing with the best, I was doing my best to simulate the game in my training.”

While he said he was excited to play, he was looking forward to what he would learn.

“The biggest thing I got out of football was learning to adapt,” Thompson said. “We roomed with a completely random player and had to learn a whole offense in the matter of six hours, so I had to learn how to adapt on the fly and know what to do. That can apply in college and in life because there are a lot of things I am going to have to do on a short notice. I just have to soak up all the information and learn as best as I can.”

Although Thompson is moving forward, he made sure not to forget his Tiger Pride. He used this opportunity to represent Fenton as the only player from the Metro League to play in the Blue and Grey game.

“We played in the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium which was a great experience,” Thompson said. “It kind of just summed up all of the work I had been putting in all the way through high school. Being recognized on that big of a stage was amazing. I could not have done it without my coaches and teammates, so I was happy I could make them all proud and represent Fenton down in Jacksonville.”

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