Although the Italy Gladiators were out pointed 2-0 in the Friday scrimmage against 2-time defending TAPPS Division III State Champion Waco Reicher Cougars, you won’t find any gloom around the Gladiator practice facilities. Feeling good about their progress, Italy is ready to meet the Maypearl Panthers head-on, in the first non-district game of the season.
Against Waco Reicher, Italy went cleat-to-cleat and helmet-to-helmet with the Champs. Unfortunately, the Cougars managed to score in their first controlled offensive series against the Gladiator defense to take a 1-0 advantage.
The Gladiator defense settled in, holding the Cougars at bay, until Waco Reicher finally scored on the last play of their second controlled series of plays.
The Gladiator offense, led by junior quarterback, Jasenio Anderson, made plays against the experienced Cougars but were kept out of the endzone on both of their controlled series.
However, Anderson was positive and upbeat about the Gladiator offense when he said, “Our offense looked much better this week. We still need more work but we did good things. We moved the ball, blocked hard and completed passes. My favorite play was when Heath (junior WR/QB Heath Clemons) made a nice gain breaking tackles left and right for a 30 or 40-yard gain.”
In a simulated quarter of football, the Mighty Gladiators held the Cougars scoreless, including a tenacious goal line stand.
Anderson also had this to say about his team’s defensive efforts, “Defense was playing very strong. We came out strong and did not slow down a bit. Our first and second teams were flying around and hitting. In the live quarter, we held them down on there on 25-yard line making important plays and stuffing them. We didnt score but they didn’t either…it felt great shutting down the defending state champs at their home field.”
Anderson’s thoughts regarding Maypearl, “We should be able to out run them. We’ll spread the ball around when we have possession and shut them out when they’re on offense. As long as we have the same energy on defense that we had on Friday against Waco Reicher, we’ll show Maypearl who we are and let everyone else in the district know, were back. We are fired up and it’s time for revenge!”
The Italy Gladiator JV team put on a dominate performance against the Waco Reicher JV, but the Cougars eventually crossed the goaline 3 times while Italy’s offense scored only 1 time.
The Gladiator JV gave up 3-pass completions for scores while alternating secondary substitutions. “The experience the backup defensive players gained during the scrimmage is more important to us than the final score,” said Coach Robert Sollers.
Italy ran the ball extremely well all game including a quarterback sneak by Tony Wooldridge to give the Gladiator JV it’s lone score.
Sophomore Corrin Frazier commented after the scrimmage, “Well, we had a couple of blown coverages defensively but we were awesome running the ball on offense.” Frazier went on to say, “We’re very excited to rematch against Maypearl who beat us by 6-points last year. This year, we plan on beating them.”
Italy will host old rival Maypearl at Willis Field on Friday, August 28 at 7:30 p.m. The JV plays in Maypearl on Thursday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. There is no love lost between these two programs making Friday’s game one you do not want to miss!