IYAA Gladiators compete in two Super Bowls, C-Team (Pre-K thru 2nd) wins it all!

Image: The IYAA C-team Gladiators charge out of their tunnel to begin the 2014 NEH Superbowl with Gared Wood(4) and Damian Wooldridge(5) leading the way with flags held high.

The IYAA C-team Gladiators charge out of their tunnel to begin the 2014 NEH Superbowl with Gared Wood(4) and Damian Wooldridge(5) leading the way with flags held high. (Barry Byers)

IYAA C-team Gladiators on Superbowl Saturday:
Palmer — What a chariot ride as the IYAA C-Team Gladiators (Pre-K thru 2nd) established themselves as a contender early and eventually wound up in a three-way tie for 1st place within their division, along with the Palmer and Mildred Eagles.

In Week 2, the C-Team Gladiators lost 14-12 to the Palmer Bulldogs on the enemy’s home field. After moving past Rice and Mildred in the playoffs, the C-Team Gladiators charged into the Superbowl for a rematch with Palmer, again on Palmer’s home field. Our boys in gold stormed out of the Keith Davis/Italy Gladiator tunnel on a brisk Saturday morning with flags in hand and one last challenge to conquer.

Despite six lead changes, the C-team Gladiators and their big play ability on offense proved equally effective against the three-yards and a cloud of dust offensive attack by the Bulldogs. Quarterback Gared Wood totaled 3 offensive touchdowns and running back Curtis Benson added 1 rushing touchdown.

Strong side end Damian Wooldridge helped lead Italy’s defensive attack with help from backside end Ramzi Holt. Wood and Benson flowed from their linebacker positions while backing up Italy’s defensive front of Grant Morgan, Gavin Vasquez, Kace McDaniel and Ryland Cagle, who were in a dog fight all game against the straight ahead Bulldogs.

Elijah Davis and Jayden Hernandez contained the edges while safety Cory “Lucky” Johnson helped bog down the middle running lanes Palmer was searching for. After surviving running out on the field to start the Superbowl while carrying an Italy flag waving at the end of a stick three-times taller than him, Italy’s Pre-K player J.C. Smith also pitched in on special teams and on the offensive line.

Wood also ran back 2 kick returns for touchdowns, one in each half, separating the C-team Gladiators from Palmer on the scoreboard. Wood also recovered an onside kick attempt by Italy late in the contest with teammate Benson kicking a hard-to-handle dagger into the heart of the Palmer return team.

In the end, the C-Team Gladiators defeated Palmer 36-25 to win the 2014 NEH Superbowl 36-25!

IYAA C-team Gladiators 2014 NEH Superbowl Champions:

  • #1 Curtis Benson
  • #20 Ryland Cagle
  • #18 Elijah Davis
  • #2 Koda Harris,
  • #9 Jayden Hernandez
  • #33 Ramzi Holt
  • #7 Cory “Lucky” Johnson
  • #3 Kace McDaniel
  • #6 Grant Morgan
  • #10 J.C. Smith
  • #56 Gavin Vasquez
  • #4 Gared Wood
  • #5 Damian Wooldridge


  • Jasenio Anderson (Head coach)
  • Gary Wood
  • Shedric Walker
  • Andre Speed
  • Barry Byers


  • Mikyia Adams
  • Cheyenne Caudle,
  • Lilyana Hugghins
  • Shay Johnson
  • Sorienna Maynard,
  • Donna Moffeit
  • Charlea Padilla
  • Mayson Souder
  • Jordynn Wiser

Cheer Coach:

  • Lindy Wooldridge

IYAA B-Team Gladiators on Superbowl Saturday:
After finishing the regular season with a 2-4 record, the IYAA B-team Gladiators were a long-shot to win a playoff game, much less reach the Superbowl. After all, Italy’s B-team had exactly 11 players. No subs. No breaks. No injuries.

The B-team Gladiators began the playoffs as a 6th seed, the very bottom of the bracket. By the time the dust had settled, however, the B-Team Gladiators managed two playoff wins and had climbed to the top of the bracket for final matchup with the Blooming Grove Lions.

In the Superbowl, Blooming Grove’s kitchen sink right and kitchen sink left running attack overwhelmed Italy’s defenses. Despite the constant barrage of blue, the B-Team Gladiators were hanging in there after a second touchdown run by John Hall, Jr. helped make the score 21-14 before halftime with the Lions still in front by 7.

The B-Team Gladiators began to wear down from there, despite a couple of crafty sideline tackles by Jaylon Wallace and fellow cornerback Chance Shaffer and with a stubborn Gladiator defensive middle anchored by noseguard Bryce Ballard, with help from tackles Wyatt Ryan, Taylor Sparks and Jordan Clamon.

Gabe Martinez, Willie Talton, Preston Walker and Christopher Adams were also giving it their all on the defensive side of the ball but the Lions seemed to be running downhill all game while Italy’s offensive side of the ball seemed to be more of an uphill struggle.

The Lions continued to pull away but to Italy’s credit, the B-team Gladiators continued to fight the good fight until the very end. Blooming Grove eventually won 34-14 with the B-team Gladiators finishing their post-season campaign as the 2014 NEH Superbowl Runners-Up! An amazing accomplishment for a last seeded underdog with only 11 players!!

IYAA B-team Gladiators 2014 NEH Superbowl Runners-Up:

  • #1 Christopher Adams
  • #30 Bryce Ballard
  • #80 Jordan Clamon
  • #9 John Hall, Jr.
  • #5 Gabe Martinez
  • #89 Wyatt Ryan
  • #6 Chance Shaffer
  • #3 Taylor Sparks
  • #36 Willie Talton
  • #4 Preston Walker
  • #2 Jaylon Wallace


  • Mark Souder (Head coach)
  • John Hall, Sr.
  • Brian Anderson
  • Daniel Ballard
  • Jermaine Jackson


  • Annaliese Almanza
  • Sarah Cumpton
  • Gabi Haake
  • Sicily Johnson
  • Hannah Krusen
  • Hannah Pajak
  • Taylor Souder
  • Jada Williams

Cheer Coach:

  • Alyssa Compton

IYAA A-team Gladiators Playoff Results:
The IYAA A-team Gladiators (5th – 6th) won their first round playoff game 6-0 over Palmer with a late bomb from quarterback Creighton Hyles to wide receiver Kort Holley to help their squad reach the final four of the playoff bracket. The A-team Gladiators were halted in their semi-final matchup, falling just one win short of reaching the Superbowl themselves.

After not having a team in this age group during the previous 2013 season, the A-team Gladiators and their coaching staff were in overdrive trying to make up for lost time. It was both interesting and exciting to watch the A-team continue to improve over the course of the season.

IYAA A-team Gladiators Playoff Roster:

  • Jaiden Barr
  • Rance Beets
  • Aiden Brewer
  • Ty Cash
  • Andrew Celis
  • Anthony Chambers
  • Bryce DeBorde
  • Christian Garza
  • Bryant Haake
  • Kort Holley
  • Creighton Hyles
  • Chase Hyles
  • Darrin Jackson
  • Reese Janek
  • Benjamin Stevens
  • Sam Stevens
  • Jacob Strickland
  • Julius Williams


  • Charles Hyles (Head coach)
  • Carl Cash
  • Kyle Holley
  • Eric Haake
  • Cory Johnson


  • Renee Brewer
  • Brianna Hall
  • Jaliyah Hall
  • Karley Sigler
  • Brooklyn Steinmetz
  • Alyssa Wiser
  • Kinsie Whatley

Cheer Coach:

  • Rachel Hall

IYAA Sports, The winning tradition starts here."