Once a Panther Always a Panther!

University of Tennessee plays Austin Peay in the second game of the season.
University of Tennessee plays Austin Peay in the second game of the season.
Ruthie Davis

It’s that time of year again! Orange and white checkerboard as far as the eye can see and  thousands chanting “Rocky Top”! September 9th , Knoxville got to gather once again at the Neyland Stadium for the Vols first home game of the season. Tennessee’s second game was against Austin Peay. Most people here of course are cheering for Tennessee, but at LCHS while we might be rooting for UT we are also cheering on Austin Peay. LCHS 2023 graduate Leo Gonzalez is an offensive lineman for the Governors. Gonzalez shares how much change he has faced since continuing on with college ball.

 “High school was very fun and I thought it was easy but now college is a big change, everyone is bigger and better in college. The game is just way faster and way harder,” Gonzalez said. 

While realizing how different the game is in college he has also gained pleasure in this new experience. 

“My favorite part of playing on a college team is just the atmosphere of fans and people who go to games. I also enjoy meeting new people from all around the United States with one goal to win,” Gonzalez said. 

While college football has its perks it also has some challenges.

“The hardest struggle is missing home or just getting used to the intense schedule we have. People think it is easy but it is a job to wake up early and stay out late,” Gonzalez said. 

A good way for Gonzalez to stay focused on his goal and maintain passion for football with such an intense schedule is to prioritize his mindset, especially as he goes into games.

“My mindset for going into each game is simple; it’s to win and for me, if you don’t have that mindset you are not a competitor,” Gonzalez said. 

Coming back home to compete against his hometown football team was a pressure Gonzalez faced but, he also loved being able to see home again.

“I had a lot of pressure because I did not want to disappoint anyone and coming back home meant a lot to me. I missed it and loved playing in Neyland,” Gonzalez said. 

While just being a freshman, the Lineman has big goals for his years at Austin Peay.

“Next year I would like to win a national championship and be an all-American,” Gonzalez said. 

University of Tennesee will always hold a special place in the Volunteer’s heart, but at LCHS cheering for Austin Peay is not too bad, especially seeing one of our graduates fulfill a lifelong dream of his. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Lenoir City Panther Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *