MILWAUKEE - The weight room is the lifeblood of any high school football program.
That's exactly why Brookfield Academy and head coach Jon Kahle are lifting in preparation for the second week of their season.
"Strength and conditioning can transform a program," said Kahle. "It's a big part of our program and overall athletic department. We started out lifting in essentially a classroom and now we have this beautiful five thousand square foot fitness center."
Strength and conditioning coach William Werner has been working with these players for several years, taking them from that classroom to the $2.2 million state-of-the-art fitness center the school opened this past spring.
"From where we were before to where we are now is apples and oranges in comparison," said Werner. "Kids are able to get in, get out efficiently and work hard and get the proper exercise that they need."
Friday night, the Blue Knights will take on Milwaukee Reagan.
The Huskies made a similar addition to their arsenal this summer.
Now here's the catch. They're using Brookfield Academy's old equipment.
That's right. The Blue Knights made the donation to Reagan after making its upgrade.
"I'd seen what they were doing in their space, and they did a lot with a little and I was really impressed by that," Kahle said. "I thought what better way to help a program than to give them resources?"
"Out of the blue last year, Jon reached out and said, "Hey, we're building a new facility and we've got this stuff we're going to donate. Would you be interested in taking it?" Yes, we'll take it," said Reagan head coach Greg Roman."
Just like Kahle and Werner had to do in the past, Roman was making the most with what little equipment and space he had.
Before, Reagan was lifting weights in a hallway next to some folded-up bleachers.
Now, they can spread out.
"I feel like everybody has higher energy," said Reagan senior Malek Abu-Shawish. "They're more excited to lift. We're all grateful for the equipment. We use it to the best of our ability. We take care of it, too, because it's in great condition and we want to keep it that way for future programs and our future athletes."
Kahle said his school's decision came down to shared values: discipline, toughness, and attention to detail.
And he knew the equipment would go to good use.
"I think that shows what football and high school sports can do," said Kahle. "You create these bonds, you have each other's backs and you want to look out for each other."
Lifting each other up before battling on the gridiron this Friday.
"I hope they haven't been using the equipment too much over there," Kahle said. "They're a hard-hitting, physical football team and we're looking forward to it"
"Of course, they want to win and we want to win," Roman said. "But at the end of the game, we're going to shake hands with them and have no grudges or anything like that. It's going to be a good, well-played football game."