The Italy Gladiators made it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season under second-year Athletic Director/Head Football Coach David Weaver. The Gladiators held their own within a stout schedule finishing 6-5 overall and 2-3 in district play.
Despite having state ranked Mart and Bosqueville to contend with in their district, the Gladiators managed to finish 4th in the standings and advance to the playoffs. Leading the Gladiator attack was junior Clay Riddle who earned 1st Team All-District honors on both sides of the ball as an aggressive offensive tackle and as a relentless outside linebacker.
Senior David De La Hoya was named 1st Team offensive tackle with fellow linemen James Walton, John Morgan (Center), Austin Pittmon and twin brother Aaron Pittmon also receiving all-district recognition. Junior quarterback Tylan Wallace gave Italy a big lift this season and received Honorable Mention honors for his efforts. Adding to the offensive excitement were senior Kevin Johnson, a 1st Team honoree as a wide receiver, and pass catching buds Keith Davis II and Jeremiah Thompson who made the list as well.
Carrying the bulk of the load for the Gladiators out of the backfield was junior Kendrick Norwood who received 2nd Team honors at running back and sophomore Christion Washington earned 2nd Team honors as a powerful fullback. Junior punter Gary Escamilla proved to be an invaluable weapon for Italy in the field position game and received Honorable Mention for his kicking leg.
Defensively, Italy’s defensive line was a wall to reckon in 2016 with sophomore defensive tackle Terry Dixon picking up 2nd Team honors and fellow brick in the wall Kenneth Norwood, a senior, receiving Honorable Mention for his ability to control the gap as a defensive lineman. Alex Garcia also received Honorable Mention honors as a defensive lineman.
Joining Riddle on the second level of the defense were Washington, who received 2nd Team honors at inside linebacker, senior hard-hitting linebacker Joe Celis who received Honorable Mention and sophomore backer Donald Hayes who also received Honorable Mention. Davis was named 2nd Team corner and junior Garrett Janek received Honorable Mention honors at cornerback. Johnson received 2nd Team honors at safety and De La Hoya was awarded with 2nd Team honors at defensive end.
After securing a spot in the playoffs, Italy lost to the Crawford Pirates in the Bi-District round before the Pirates continued to sail their way into the State Championship game.
Crawford (14-1) will play Refugio (14-1) Today, Thursday December 15, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, with the kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
2016 2A-1 Region II District 8 Italy Gladiator All-District Football Honorees:
1st Team Offense:
|Kevin Johnson||1||Wide Receiver||Senior|
|Clay Riddle||50||Offensive Guard||Junior|
|David De La Hoya||75||Offensive Tackle||Senior|
2nd Team Offense:
|Kendrick Norwood||10||Running Back||Junior|
|Jeremiah Thompson||3||Slot Wide Receiver||Senior|
|James Walton||52||Offensive Guard||Senior|
Honorable Mention Offense:
|John Morgan||66||Offensive Center||Junior|
|Keith Davis II||5||Wide Receiver||Senior|
|Austin Pittmon||65||Offensive Guard||Senior|
|Aaron Pittmon||72||Offensive Tackle||Senior|
1st Team Defense:
|Clay Riddle||50||Outside Linebacker||Junior|
2nd Team Defense:
|Terry Dixon||63||Defensive Tackle||Sophomore|
|David De La Hoya||75||Defensive End||Senior|
|Christion Washington||24||Inside Linebacker||Sophomore|
|Keith Davis II||5||Corner||Senior|
Honorable Mention Defense:
|Kenneth Norwood||16||Defensive Lineman||Senior|
|Alex Garcia||54||Defensive Lineman||Sophomore|
|Lizzie Garcia — Video Crew|
|Emily Cunningham — Video Crew|