Gladiators prepare for full pads on Friday to conclude solid first week

Image: Gladiator Shad Newman fights his way thru the defense during an offensive drill.

Gladiator Shad Newman fights his way thru the defense during an offensive drill. (Barry Byers)

Italy — An eager group of Gladiators pushes thru the grind of two-a-days and wrap up the first four days without pads and light contact. The players begin their next test on Friday when the team will be outfitted in full pads as they continue to prepare for another exciting season of Italy Gladiator Football returning to 1A.

Several of Italy’s basketball and baseball standouts have joined forces with returning football players as well as welcoming a few new faces into the mix, loading the team with an arsenal of talent. AD/Head Coach Hank Hollowed and his staff will have their choice of weapons when launching an assault on their opponents.

How explosive is Italy expected to be this season? Well, Coach Hollywood will unleash returning 2A Co-MVP tailback Ryheem Walker, a senior, who committed to summer workouts and will be physically ready to make a run at glory. Walker will not have to win games on his own, however. Coach Hollywood has a stable of thoroughbreds ready to gallop over the competition.

Quarterbacks Eric Carson and Marvin Cox are both accurate from the pocket and potential game changers if they decide to tuck it and run. Backs Jalarnce “Shorty” Lewis, Chase “Ham-bone” Hamilton, Shad Newman and Tre “The Bus” Jackson will be the first out of the gate with each adding to the passing game as well. Receivers Justin Wood and Reid Jacinto are also capable of having an impact in the running game if called upon.

Italy’s receiving corp is equally outstanding. The fearless Trevon Robertson returns from last season and will combine strengths with Cole Hopkins, newcomer Kelvin Joffre who has been a pleasant surprise early in camp, Caden Jacinto, Paul Harris and many others. Carson has also shown the ability to make any grab during the camp and will be running routes for the offense when not at quarterback.

Italy returns four offensive lineman ranging from 200 lbs. and up from last season’s co-district championship team. Zain “Zilla” Byers will again be the man in the middle at center flanked by versatile Kevin “Kev” Roldan at right guard and senior Adrian “BoBo” Reed at right guard, all 258 lbs. of him. Senior Zackery Boykin will defend the blind side at left tackle with Cody Medrano stepping in at right tackle.

Defensively? Hank Seabolt, a junior nose guard who squats over 500 lbs., will anchor a defense that will be hungry for the ball and ready to prove any doubters wrong. That’s about all the information I’m willing to reveal at this time. You’ll have to see for yourself during Italy’s first scrimmage at home against Valley Mills on Saturday, August 18 with the JV contest starting at 9:00 a.m. and the Varsity matchup beginning at 10:00 a.m. Be sure to bring a towel and donate it to the Gladiator cause to get into the scrimmages free!

Overall, the players are displaying self discipline and a willingness to improve each day for one another. The camp mood is upbeat and the players are positive.

Purchase a spirit sign to hang at Willis Field

Be sure to checkout the Dale Hansen Football Classic Facebook Fan Page for the latest news and highlights regarding the event on Friday, September 7, when Italy will challenge Malakoff at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, September 8, when Thrall takes on Florence and Alvarado duels with Mexia.

Classic Shirts:
Check out the official Dale Hansen Football Classic T-shirt! Shirt is $10 and will be available before and after the game in the “Spirit Store” located on the Home Side.

Free Giveaway:
The first 400 patrons to EACH game will receive a commemorative “Twist and Chill” Dale Hansen Football Classic fan. Cool!

Scholarship Application:
Scholarship applications are due August 15th! One boy and one girl from EACH school will receive $1,000! That is alot of money sitting on the table!! Senior Italy Gladiator football players, Gladiator Regiment Marching Band members and Lady Gladiator Cheerleaders are encouraged to participate!!! Download the application from this link: Dale Hansen Football Classic Football Scholarship Application

Ticket Information:

  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7th: $5 Pre-Sale at Italy High School/$8 Game Day
  • SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th: $7 Pre-Sale/$10 Game Day (Includes both games on Saturday)
  • CLASSIC PASS: $10 (Includes all three games and is same price for Pre-Sale or Game Day).

Most likely the “Pre-Sale” will take place one week prior to the classic.

Dale Hansen Football Classic Website

Go Italy!