The 2010 Italy Gladiators, head coached by athletic director Craig Bales, began their 2-a-day football practices on Monday to kickoff a highly anticipated campaign to reclaim the district championship that has been so close yet so far away.
Under the direction of Coach Bales in his first two season’s, the Gladiators have once again established themselves as a serious contender for the crown. The Gladiators will be moving up in classification to 2A and are expected to challenge Buffalo for the district’s top prize.
Italy will be challenged early in their quest for glory against long-time rival Maypearl and then in a possible statement game against Mart. “If we get past those two teams, we’ll have a good idea of where we stand,” said IHS’s 2009-2010 Fan of the Year Richard Cook. Mr. Cook has faithfully watched every snap of the camp from the shade beneath the visitors box on the Gladiators’ practice field.
Like horses chomping at the bit, Coach Bales released his stable of 34 J.V. and Varsity horses at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning….and the district races are on. Trotting down from the gold and white painted barn were thoroughbreds such as Heath Clemons, Devonta Simmons, Ethan Simon, De’Andre Sephus, Corrin Frazier, Jase Holding, Kyle Jackson, Chase Hamilton and Kyle Wilkins, just to name a few.
Senior quarterback Jasenio Anderson will be driving the Gladiator war wagon which will be pulled by a team of snarling mustangs such as Ethan Simon, Omar Estrada, Larry Mayberry, Jacob Lopez and Brandon Souder.
If Coach Bales and his staff can rein in these wild, equine-like athletes, there will be no mountain the Gladiators will not climb come fall. Coaches Stephen Coleman and Erik Wilson have been working with the linemen extensively knowing they’ll be the muscle needed to cross flooded fields and hostile territories.
Coaches Josh Ward and Aidan Callahan have been working with Italy’s talented receivers and secondary units. Corners Frazier and Sephus are like two Gladiators in a candy shop when it comes to catching a pick-6.
While Coach Bales guides the quarterbacks and running backs, new defensive coordinator Jeff Richters is covering the nuances of his defense in great detail and has provided a motivational speech or two that would inspire any Gladiator alumnus to squeeze into their old gold uniform and retake the field.
Keep working hard Gladiators!