The Gladiators give newcomers and JV players plenty of reps in Palmer scrimmage

Image: Sophomore QB Joe Celis(6) prepares to lead the Gladiators in a scrimmage against the Palmer Bulldogs and beyond….

Sophomore QB Joe Celis(6) prepares to lead the Gladiators in a scrimmage against the Palmer Bulldogs and beyond…. (Barry Byers)

Ferris — The Gladiators took on the Palmer Bulldogs for their second scrimmage of their 2014 campaign. With Willis Field in Italy recently having sod laid, the scrimmage was played on Thursday in Ferris on their turf field.

Sophomore quarterback Joe Celis took the majority of the snaps for Italy but Clayton Miller and Ryan Connor also showed their abilities in running the Italy offense. Hunter Merimon remains Italy’s main weapon out of the backfield while JV players Jaray Anderson and Kendrick Norwood showed moments of greatness when giving an opportunity to run with the ball. Senior Coby Jeffords was used primarily for blocking out of the backfield.

Defensively, linebacker Kyle Fortenberry is becoming more comfortable in his role as an inside linebacker along with Jeffords. Italy’s defensive front is still under renovation but seniors John Byers, Cody Boyd, John Escamilla, David De La Hoya and 384 pound newcomer Ty Fernandez from Bandera High School, all proved to be solid run stoppers as the scrimmage progressed. Teammate Colin Newman is expected to rejoin his beefy brothering this Friday in time for Italy’s preseason matchup against Kerens.

Another newcomer, Micah Escamilla, a Waxahachie transfer, shined as well while making an aggressive open field tackle midway thru. Celis recovered a fumble early on and Merimon intercepted a pass from his outside linebacker position.

Athletic Director and Head Coach Charles Tindol has made it a point during these first two scrimmages to get his JV players reps in both JV and varsity sessions. In fact, Italy’s JV squad took on Palmer’s first string varsity and second string lineups multiple times. The Gladiators will be relying on plenty of youth this season and Tindol is not hesitating to get them up to varsity speed.

With the first district game just around the corner, that’s all the team info that will be divulged for now. However, one thing is for sure, the Gladiators will give it their very best this season and it should be a fun one to watch! Are you ready for some Gladiator Football?

Go Gladiators!