Gaither: Reece enjoys delivering the big hits
TAMPA - Mikail Reece plays basketball and football for Gaither, but it's the latter that provides the senior defensive lineman with an added dose of inspiration. "I like those moments when you make the 'ooh' hits.'' Reece said. "That's football. Those moments can be game-changers. "It can bring the fans into a game and excite the whole team. It's an extra boost.'' Gaither could use a boost. In Reece's last two seasons, the Cowboys posted only four victories. His first year at Gaither, the Cowboys made it to the playoffs, but were bounced in the first round."We went to the playoffs my freshmen year and lost to Chamberlain really bad," Reece said. "I said my senior year, I'm not going to let that happen. "My senior-year team is not going to go out like that.'' A new coach, Jason Stokes, has Reece and his teammates pumped for change. The hyped-up, super-charged environment is very apparent at the Cowboys' high-energy practices. "It's really exciting at Gaither right now,'' Reece said. "It's just bubbling. You can feel the atmosphere growing. "We're putting a lot of work in and know this is going to be a great year." The hard work began in the offseason with a busy 7-on-7 schedule, including a victory at a Bradenton tournament and runner-up finish at the USF Sling and Shoot, and a dedicated weight room regimen. "We feel like we work the hardest in the county,'' Reece said. "We may not be the most physically imposing team with size or anything like that, but we've hit the weight room. "We're definitely in shape and we feel like we're going to be playing four quarters of football this year.'' And he's prepared to go out blazing his final year at Gaither. "It's going to be a great year,'' he said. "We're going to be looking good, too, with new jerseys and helmet logos. And we even repainted the barn.''