After finishing 0-10 in 2006, Coach Buddy Griffin and the Italy Gladiators looked for a way to turn things around.
Just one win shy of a playoff berth the underdog Gladiators opened some eyes and turned some heads.
Italy was picked to finish in the bottom half of the district race, but that was not satisfactory for the Gladiators. Italy ended the season at 5-5 (3-3), plagued by a couple of injuries the Gladiators were only a victory away from the post season.
Italy landed three Gladiators to the First Team and seven earned Second Team honors.
Freshman, (QB/LB) Jasenio Anderson was named Co-Newcomer of the Year and Second Team punter. Anderson rushed for 300 yards on the season and scored three touchdowns.
He also completed 24 of 56 passes five for touchdowns and only three interceptions. Jasenio had a punting average of 35 yards per punt.
Senior, (RB/DB) Detrick Green was the heart of the Gladiators offense despite only competing in eight games, his numbers were impressive.
Detrick rushed for 1,079 yards and team high 17 touchdowns to earn First Team honors.
Defesively Green was named Second Team defensive back, where he recorded 59 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and an inteception.
Senior, (LB) J.R. Hill led the Gladiator defense with a team high 88 tackles. Hill also had two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception.
Sophomore, (DB) Jake Valdez led the team in inteceptions with three on the season. Valdez also racked up 53 tackles and caused two fumbles.
Senior, (C) Josh Howard and Sophomore, (RT) Jeff Claxton earned Second Team offensive line honors. These two Gladiators led the push up front. Howard recorded 25 knockdowns and Claxton had 20.
Junior, (NG) Evander Holbert anchored the defensive line for the Gladiator defense. Holbert wrapped-up 42 tackles and two fumble recoveries down in the trenches.
Senior, (DE) Jarod Casey was named Second Team defensewith 44 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries.
Senior, (LB) Sam Norcross was one of the most exciting Gladiators to watch on the defesive side of the ball.
Norcross was always around to make the big play. He recorded 61 tackles, forced a fumble and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.
Senior, (LB) Johnathan Roldan also received Second Team honors. Roldan tallied up 65 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
MVP: Ketrick Harmon, Frankston
Offensive MVP: Dang Nguyen, Mildred
Co-Defensive MVP: Colton Miller, Frankston and Trevor Burnett, Mildred
Utility MVP: Kevin Barlow, Mildred
Co-Newcomer of the Year: Jasenlo Anderson, Italy and Thomas McDonald, Mildred
Coach of the Year: Joe Drennon, Mildred
First Team Offense
K: Juve Sanchez, Blooming Grove
P: Kevin Barlow, Mildred
OL: Eli Heugatter, Mildred; Jason Horn, Mildred; Tyler Freed, Mildred; Oscar Birdow, Frankston; Gaston Wilder, Malakoff
RB: Marcel Ingram, Frankston; Detrick Green, Italy;
Trey Davis, Rice
QB: Bryan Blackwell, Frankston; Pat Faulk, Kerens, Darius Harris, Blooming Grove
WR: Derrick Polk, Kerens, Lee Grounds, Blooming Grove; Andrew Hoffma, Blooming Grove
TE: Luke Foster, Frankston
First Team Defense
DL: Adam Stroder, Mildred; Drew Burnett, Mildred; Josh Fields, Frankston; Justin Graham, Kerens; Breland Fox, Malakoff
DE: Freddie McDonald, Mildred; Juve Sanchez, Blooming Grove; Jordan Watkins, Blooming Grove; Cedrick Freeman, Rice
LB: Preston Stephens, Mildred, Dalton Sevem, Frankston; Michael Walker, Frankston; J.R. Hill, Italy ; Jody Gorden, Kerens
DB: Cory Roper, Mildred; Jake Valdez, Italy; Donnie Crowsey, Malakoff; Lee Grounds, Blooming Grove
Second Team Offense
K: Jansen Allen, Rice
P: Jasenio Anderson , Italy
OL: Justin Aldama, Mildred; Alex Hunt, Frankston; Coby
Coleman, Frankston; Chris McNertney, Frankston; Jeff
Claxton, Italy; Josh Howard, Italy; Cedrick Freeman,
Rice; Tate Haynie, Blooming Grove
RB: Byron Mitchell, Kerens; Jackson Blacketer,
Malakoff; Jordan Tennell, Blooming Grove; Jansen Allen, Rice
QB: Tyler Drennon, Mildred; Bernard Hill, Malakoff
WR: Rudy Luna, Mildred; Cory Roper, Mildred; Stephen
Forson, Frankston; Aaron Gooden, Kerens; Scott Ackley,
TE: Casey Russell, Mildred
Second Team Defense
DL: Eli Heugatter, Mildred; Evander Holbert , Italy ;
Eric Fisher, Blooming Grove
DE: Jarod Casey , Italy ; Justin Teague, Malakoff
LB: Kevin Dozier, Mildred; Luke Foster, Frankston; SamNorcross, Italy; Jonathan Roldon, Italy; Trey McGowan, Kerens; Garrett Connally, Blooming Grove; Amonzo Carbajal, Rice
DB: Brent Killingsworth, Mildred; Orlando Hatton, Frankston; Kelton Baxer, Frankston; Detrick Green ,
Italy: Terrance Sayles, Kerens; Andrew Hoffma, Blooming Grove
Mildred: Marc Patrick
Blooming Grove: Brandon Ferrer, Jake Adair, Drew Walter, Buster Evans, Trent Harris, Tim Anderson,
Kerens: Justyn Brooks, Billy Littleton, Terry Haynes,
Zak King, Keeton Roch, Cameron Betts
Rice: Geoffrey Hammonds, Blake Lewis, Colton
Richardson, Sam Gunter, Byron Rhodes, Fernando Saucedo