Tonawanda News — Ian Gilhousen watched with youthful wonder when the Lumberjacks won the state championship.
He was only a freshman, but what he saw gave him hope. He always knew he’d be an impact player for the North Tonawanda football team — he’s been playing football since he was 6 — but seeing what that team accomplished motivated him.
The 2012 Jacks are inexperienced and Gilhousen is the only returning starter on defense from a year ago. He didn’t even think twice about stepping into a leadership role with the team because he likes setting an example for the younger players. He wants to give them something the 2009 seniors gave him.
“It’s a good task and I like taking it on,” Gilhousen said. “Between football and basketball I’m one of a handful of seniors and it’s definitely something I like taking a hold of — I like being a leader. I like setting an example for the younger kids and helping to show them what to expect when they get in my shoes.”
When new coach Tony Truilizio started, he was in search of a few players that could help him mesh with the team. He was an outsider and needed the Jacks to hear his message.
Gilhousen became one of those players.
“Not knowing anybody as a new coach, Ian did step up and was sort of the bridge between myself and the team,” Truilizio said. “He has a strong personality and he’s a really good kid.”
Gilhousen had a defensive coming out party in the Jacks’ Week 2 loss against Grand Island. Truilizio moved the 6-foot-3 cornerback to linebacker last week to help fill in for injured players.
Ten solo tackles later, Gilhousen has emerged as the most dominant man on the defensive side of the ball for the Jacks.