The 2020 Kickoff Classic

Game #1 of the FFA season featured your defending 2018 – 2019 Back-to-Back Champions, the Southwest Florida Gladiators taking on the Space Coast Tarheels! This game is known as the Kickoff Classic. For the past few years the Kickoff Classic was kind of the championship redo game

giving the Alliance Bowl loser a chance to redeem themselves.

This year the league decided to do it a little differently. The Kickoff Classic would split the two
Alliance Bowl competitors and give them each a Kickoff Classic game to start the season against teams new to the league.

The Tarheels were a powerhouse from a lessor league and decided it was time to take their might
to the Florida Football Alliance. Their first assignment would be a daunting one, they were given the defending champions.

The Gladiators have had a busy off season signing over 20 new players. How many of them can
contribute in their first year is yet to be seen but there are some very exciting prospects. The Glads signed several new quarterbacks, some running backs, several lineman and some exciting

defensive players. They also added 2 new coaches to help out. Once all of this new talent gels with the existing core group, things could get very exciting.

The Tarheels also signed many new players, as moving to the premier league is very enticing for
players. The Tarheels are big at O line and have a first-class quarterback. They have a strong running core and good receivers.

So, how did their first big game go against the Champs? It started off a little rough. Within the first
4 minutes a Tarheels player went down with a serious injury. The game was halted for over an hour as a helicopter was brought in to transport him. He was knocked out and paralyzed on the field after being hit by his own teammate. The good news is that he is up and walking and will make a full recovery.

After the medical delay how did the game go for the Tarheels, well for a while pretty good. In the first quarter the Tarheels took a late 1st quarter lead and went up 6 – 0. The Gladiators were making some mistakes as all of the new players were getting used to the system.

In the second quarter the Champs started to get things going a little bit. Part way through they scored a touchdown on a nice drive with a new QB, Michael Edoba at the helm and took the lead 7 – 6. That’s how it went to half time. The Tarheels were not going down easily and the Gladiators, well, didn’t look like the Gladiators…yet.

Head Coach Gerald Perry took the Glads into the locker room and made some adjustments. They came out of the locker room looking ready to play Gladiator football and they didn’t disappoint.

First play of the 3rd quarter the Gladiators received the kickoff and Craig “the Rocket” Carnes promptly ran it back for a touchdown. The Gladiator defense forced a 3 and out and the Gladiator offense went right down the field and scored again. All of a sudden, the Gladiators arrived and within minutes the score was 21-6.

From the start of the second half kickoff to the end of the game it was all Gladiators. The Tarheels just couldn’t handle the skill, speed, or the strength of the Glads. Final score was Gladiators 43, Tarheels 6. The Glads scored 36 unanswered second quarter points in a dominating second half performance.

On February 8th the Gladiators will travel to the South Florida Wolverines in what this author calls the Redo Bowl. It is interesting to note that never in history has the winner of the Alliance Bowl been forced to go to the loser’s home field the following year to play the rematch. It has always been that the loser has to face the winner at the winners’ home field. Protests were lodged but the league just shrugged it off. Seems the 2019 Champions gets the toughest schedule in the league. We will have to see what the Gladiators can do with this difficult schedule which includes 4 away games in a row.

Clash of the Titans

As we all sit at our homes waiting for all this virus stuff to run its course, I figured I should finally tell the story of the Clash of the Titans. Not the one with a 3 headed snake and all kinds of other monsters, nope, this one was between the 2 best teams in Florida Football Alliance history.

The clash took place just as the virus was just starting to stare us down and on March 7th, the Magic City Bulls came to play the Southwest Florida Gladiators. These 2 teams have won 9 out of the 12 Alliance Bowl Championships. And one of these two teams have been in every single Alliance Bowl. That’s right, in its 12-year history, there has never been an Alliance Bowl without the Bulls or the Gladiators on the field. Over the last 5 years, the Gladiators have won 3 and the Bulls have won 2 Alliance Bowl Championships. Now, that is pure and utter domination.

Not with that being said, there was a game on March 7th between these two powerhouses. This is the first time they have played each other in the regular season in nearly a decade. The game was to take place at the Gladiators home field in Bradenton where they haven’t lost a regular season game in at least 4 years.

Both organizations are known for having the best coaching staffs in the state. The Bulls are known for having an outstanding offense and the Gladiators are known for their dominating defense. The Bulls had 2 weeks to study film for this game due to a bye week before the contest.

It turned out to be everything people thought it would be. It was two powerhouse teams slugging it out. Two coaching staffs adjusting to each and every move of the opposing team. Every game these two teams have played in the last 5 years ended up being a blow out for one or the other team. This one would be a little different.

At the end of the first quarter is was 0-0. At the end of the second quarter it was 0-0. The Bulls had done an excellent job of game planning a way to stop the Gladiators. The Gladiators defense, which had been uncharacteristically mistake prone so far this season chose this game to show up in post season form. The Gladiators had more yards on offense at half but no points to show for it.

Adjustments were made on both sides and the second half got underway. Once again it was a back and forth chess match. The Gladiator offense could move the ball but would stall out before they could put up points. The Bulls offense just had no answer for the Gladiators dominating defense. At the close of the 3rd quarter the game was, yep you guessed it, 0-0.

With 12 minutes left in the 4th quarter the Bulls were starting to show the effects of the constant pounding of the tough Gladiator defense. The Glads backed the Bulls up deep in their own territory and forced a punt. And wouldn’t you know it, the Gladiators special team’s unit got back to the punter and knocked the ball lose. There was a scramble in the endzone and the Gladiators recovered, touchdown Gladiators. With the extra point being good, the score was now 7-0 Gladiators.

The rest of the 4th quarter turned into desperation for the Bulls who’s uber powerful offense just couldn’t get anything going. In fact, as the game continued the Gladiator defense just keep getting stronger as the Bull got tired. The Bulls tried changing to several different styles of offense and tried 3 different QBs. In the final minute the Gladiator defense was just too much and sacked the Bulls QB on 4th down on the Bulls own 3-yard line. A couple of attempts later on a QB sneak, the Gladiators went up 13-0 with 6 seconds remaining. The extra point bounced off the upright in the strong 20mph winds.

The Gladiators have now won 2 of the last 3 matchups with the Bulls. As fans were leaving the field, I kept hearing, wow what a game. Dang, that was some good football and that’s how a game between powerhouses should go.

And with the momentum of this game. With the defense playing like the championship defense we are used to. With excellent game winning special teams play and with an offense poised to explode, the one enemy we could not have predicted took the Gladiators and the entire league and put us all on hold.

Will there be a conclusion to the 2020 season? We all hope so. We are waiting to see how long this thing lasts. The league is willing to extend the season to get in the playoffs but there is only so long we can wait before it will be too late.

Teams start preseason the first of August. We can’t go that late or it will fool with the 2021 season. So, a decision was made that if the playoffs can’t start before June 6th, then the season will be cancelled with no 2020 Champion. No one whats it to end that way.

All we can do is sit in our houses and wait and hope and pray. Will the Gladiators get a chance to 3-peat? No one in FFA history has ever done it. Or will they be forced to wait until next year for what seems to be a very elusive 3-peat indeed.

The 6th Annual Toys for Tots Charity Football Game is in the Books!

Every year the Gladiators have given boxes of toys to needy families at Christmas. This year was a big success both for the kids and for the Gladiators. 

In December every year the Gladiators host a team from a different league where the fee to get into the game is simply a toy for the kids. In the picture above you can see Derek and Rose Greenwood standing with the Marine's who happily accepted the toys.

In the game that occurred between the Southwest Florida Gladiators, your 3 time defending FFA Champions took on the Bay Area Reapers. The Reapers were a much better team than the last time these two team met but they were still no match for the Gladiators. Gladiators won 39 - 0. The Gladiators ended 2019 with a 29 - 0 win in the Alliance Bowl to give them the title of FFA Champion of the state of Florida. Then started the 2020 season with another outstanding performance and another shutout. 2020 looks promising in their quest for a 4th title and a

3 - Peat.

Gladiators Dominate 2019 Alliance Bowl!

The Alliance Bowl is the premier minor league football championship game in the southeastern United States. It pits the two best teams in what is the minor league version of the Super Bowl. The winner of this game is crowned the Alliance Bowl Champion and takes home a huge trophy.

This season the Alliance Bowl combatants consisted of the defending 2018 FFA Champion and Florida Conference Champion, Southwest Florida Gladiators and the Alliance Conference Champion, South Florida Wolverines. Many thought that the Wolverines who were denied a trip to the Alliance Bowl last year on what many called a referee error were the favorites in many peoples eyes. Nearly everyone thought their speed and the number of years they have played together would be too much for the defending Champion Gladiators.

The Gladiators came into the game with a record of 12-0 and were the 2018 defending FFA Alliance Bowl Champions. The Gladiators had also won the 2015 FFA Championship. Being 2 time champions gave them big game experience which can be an advantage. The Glads came into the game with the #1 ranked defense, the #2 ranked offense and the #1 ranked kicking unit in the league. 

The Wolverines came into the game with a record of 11-1 with only one close early season loss to the Magic City Bulls. The core of the Wolverines have played together for nearly 9 years and are known for their explosive speed. The Wolverines have a good defense that was ranked #3 in the league and have the #1 ranked offense. In addition, their kickoff and punt return units are explosive and dangerous.  

In the first quarter after each team struggled with early game jitters until the Gladiators drove down the field and scored. The massive offensive line and the lightning quick running duo of Gibbs and Carnes as well as the skillful passing of QB Young was a force to be reckoned with. The extra point by Fragomeni (FFA Kicker of the Year) was good and the Glads were off to an early 7-0 first quarter lead. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were having a tough time getting anything going on offense. Their QB was harassed constantly by a stout Gladiator defensive line and blitzing linebackers giving him very little time to throw the ball.

The second quarter saw the Gladiator offense firing on all cylinders. They once again went on a long drive where Carnes broke away for a 35 yard TD run only to have it called back on a costly penalty. But the Glads were not to be denied. On the very next play a streaking receiver caught a nicely thrown pass and scored. With the perfect kicking of the Gladiators kicking unit the score was now 14-0 and the Wolverines were starting to show some worry. The Wolverines just couldn't get anything going against the Gladiators dominating defense. The Glads got the ball again and drove down the field but had to settle for a 46 yard field goal. At halftime the score was 17-0 Gladiators.

​During halftime Gladiator Head Coach Gerald Perry was asked to stay on the field were he was awarded FFA Coach of the Year. He then headed into the locker room to talk to his team. Coach Anthony Hills was awarded the Defensive Coordinator of the Year the night before at the FFA Awards Banquet. The Wolverines were sure to make adjustments as their offense was completely ineffective against the defensive front of the Glads and their defense had no answer for the Gladiator offensive line. The Gladiators stayed with their game plan as they headed into the second half.

​The Wolverines, in a surprise move, benched their starting QB, who had just won FFA Offensive Player of the Year. However, they did start the 3rd quarter with some renewed intention and drove the ball to the Gladiators 25. Then all of that constant pressure from the Gladiators defensive line forced a rare miscue where the center snapped the ball to the side of the QB. The foot race was on, the ball got batted around a few times, but in the end the Gladiators recovered the ball ending the Wolverine 3rd quarter surge. The Gladiators took over on offense and just kept running the ball with short passes thrown in to keep drives alive. The Glads drove down the field and scored only to once again have the play called back due to a penalty. It seemed the Glads thrived on adversity this night as the very next play they once again threw a long touchdown pass. The third quarter ended with the score 24-0 Gladiators.

​The fourth quarter saw more of the same. A stifling Gladiator defense and a Gladiator offense that just overpowered the Wolverine defense. The anticipated great speed of the Wolverines never arrived. In fact, most of the game, the bigger, stronger Gladiators seemed to also have the speed advantage. The Gladiators added a safety and another FG to end the game with the final score, Gladiators 29 - Wolverines 0. 

It was billed as a game where the Wolverines would be too fast and too explosive for the bigger Gladiators. It turned out quite the opposite. The Gladiators were just as fast, were bigger, stronger, and out played their opponent. Maybe it was the experience of the Gladiators verses this being the first time in the big game for the Wolverines. Or maybe a great defense trumps a great offense. Or maybe great linemen are the real key to winning. Or maybe the great Gladiator coaching staff was just too clever. Regardless of the reason, the Gladiators are the first team in Alliance Bowl history to shut out an opponent. They are only the second team in history to have won 3 times and the first to win 3 without a loss. They are the first team to win 3 Alliance Bowls in their first 5 years of existence and only the second team to every win back to back titles. 

For the Gladiators it was their third FFA Championship in just 5 years making them the most dominate team in the FFA since their inception. Now the question that begs to be answered, is this a dynasty? They have a good mixture of youth and experience. There coaching staff is second to none and they have a well run organization. What makes a dynasty. They are 35 - 2 over the last 3 season. They are still building and are getting better. I don't even see that they have reached their zenith and I think they will get better again next year. Can the other teams in the league step up and beat them when it counts next year or does the winning streak continue? Make sure you make plans to attend all their game in the upcoming 2020 season. Who knows, you might just get to witness one of the rarest things ever in sports, back to back to back Championships. The holy three peat.

The 2020 season will start January 2020, see you there.

    What do Wolverines and 49ers Have in Common?

This last Saturday, February 8th, saw your Southwest Florida Gladiators take on

the South Florida Wolverines in a rematch of last year’s Alliance Bowl FFA

Championship game. Last years matchup was a one-sided affair with the

Gladiators blowing out the Wolverines 29 – 0. But that was last year and this is

a new year with a Gladiator team that has over 20 new players on the roster. 

Plus, it was only game 2 of the 2020 season, which means a team with lots of

new players won’t have had time to gel yet.

The Wolverines have the dubious honor of being the first team in history to be

shut out in the Alliance Bowl and well, fans and players around the league had

not been too kind. There were pictures of donuts posted everywhere and lots of

chatter that may have been a bit tough to swallow. So for 2020, they are on a

mission and had been working during the off-season signing players to fill in

where they felt that Glads had stomped on them. They also had signed a new head coach and had been practicing intensely hard and early.  

In the case of the Gladiators, last year’s Alliance Bowl winning QB retired so the Gladiators had spent their off season looking for a replacement. Plus, never to just sit and be happy being back-to-back Champions, the Glads had signed over 20 new players onto their 2020 roster. Now with all of the new players and especially new QB’s, the Glads haven’t exactly jelled together as a unit yet. This was evident in game one’s victory over the Tarheels. The score was 7 – 6 Gladiators at half but the final was 43 – 6. Glads got it going in the second half but struggled in the first.

This game had traditionally been called the Kickoff Classic, but this year the league wanted to do something different. It is also tradition that the Champions host the rematch, that was also out the window. So, the Gladiators had to travel to Fort Lauderdale to a hostile field and take on a very angry Wolverine squad. The Gladiators came into this game as a bit of an underdog due to the game location and without a stable QB. So, how did it go and why do the Wolverines and the 49ers have something in common?

The game started and with it the troubles for the Gladiators also started. The Glads fumbled the opening kickoff and the Wolverines drove deep into Gladiator territory. But the Glad defense stiffened and stopped them. The game went back and forth for about half of the first quarter when the Gladiators surprisingly struck first and went up 7 – 0. That was about all the Gladiator offense could do. Every time a drive would get going it would end with a fumble, a penalty or some major mistake. All in all, the Gladiators committed 7 turnovers. Hard to win any game with 7 turnovers.

The Wolverines in the second quarter caught the Gladiator secondary sleeping and completed a deep pass and scored a few plays later. They went for a 2-point conversion but were stopped by the normally stingy Gladiator defense, score 7 - 6 Glads.

That was all of the scoring until the 4th quarter. The Gladiators came close in the 3rd quarter but another bad call by the refs took a Gladiator TD off the board. In the 4th quarter the Wolverines put in the top scrambling QB in the state and after a few drives caught the Gladiator secondary in a huge blown coverage that led to a 50+ yard completion. A few plays later the Wolverines scored and then missed the extra point. Score 12 – 7 Wolverines.

On the next drive the Gladiator running back was stripped of the ball and it was run back for another Wolverine touchdown. This time they made the 2-point conversion and the score was now 20 – 7 with only 9 minutes remaining in the game. The Gladiators were screaming that the backs knee was down but to no avail. On later review the Gladiator ball carrier was in fact down but the ref crew missed it and gave the Wolverines a free TD.

The Wolverines now started acting like the 49ers in the Superbowl. They were partying and taking pictures of themselves and taunting the Gladiators. They proudly announced it was over, they had beaten the Champs.

Luckily, that memo never made it to the Gladiator side of the field. Coach Perry in a brilliant move changed up the offense once again and promptly drove down the field and scored. With the extra point the score was now 20 – 14 with around 6 minutes remaining.

Now it was up to the Gladiator defense to make a stand and that they did. In just a few short minutes the defense turned the ball back over to the now hot Gladiator offense. Could they find lightning in a bottle again. YEP! The Glad offense drove right down the field again and scored. Now with only 3:30 remaining an extra point would give them the lead. The kicking squad of the Glads came through and the score was now 21 – 20 Gladiators.

Now for the nail-biting moment. The Glads had come from 2 touchdowns down but had left too much time on the clock. The Wolverines would get one more shot and they drove to the Gladiator 40 before a brilliant sack of the QB put the Wolverines into a 4th and long situation which was about to get much worse. The Wolverine QB threw a fit on the field, threw his helmet and pushed a ref. He was ejected and was assessed two 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalties. Now it was 4th and Jacksonville and they had no choice but to punt.

Gladiators fielded the punt and once again drove straight down the field. They got to the Wolverine 20 with under 2 minutes remaining in the game. But in a show of sportsmanship, Coach Perry just knelt on the ball to run out the clock. Game over, Glads WIN!

Those in attendance saw the similarities between this Alliance Bowl rematch and the just completed Superbowl. In both games a team leading with time left on the clock started celebrating. And in both games a hot QB ignited the offense and drove to victory.

The Gladiators are 3-time Champions. Never count out a team that has the heart of a champion. A true champion will never stop until the final whistle blows.

Next week the Gladiators will continue their brutal road stretch and will travel to the Dunedin Pirates. The Pirates are a much-improved team in 2020 but have had a hard time historically with the Gladiators. The Gladiators are 6 – 0 against the Pirates. Don’t miss any of the action. Kick off is at 5:00pm at Dunedin High School.

Gladiators Lose Important Divisional Game

This last Saturday, February 29th, the Gladiators were handed their first loss

in nearly 2 years. Yes, I am as shocked at you might be. I guess it had to

happen eventually, but I surely didn’t expect it to be against the Soldiers.

Were the Soldiers that good? No, but the Gladiators were that bad. The

Gladiators have been up and down all season, playing great sometimes and

looking off and uninspired at other times. Some say it’s the curse of winning

so much. I think that the truth is closer to that they just expect to win and the

more that happens the more the preparation gets worse and worse. It looks

like they now expect to win without even trying and without even putting in

the work that got them here in the first place.

If you want to see how to take the most talented team in the league and lose, will just watch this last game. The Gladiators started the game off pretty laid back. There just weren’t very excited. I found that odd due to the fact that they were playing one of the only undefeated teams left in the league. On top of that they were slow getting dressed and late to the field for warm ups. That concerned me due to the cold weather.

In the first quarter the Soldiers struck first and scored a TD. In the second quarter the Glads got things going and tied up the game then missed an easy touchdown when a pass was dropped late in the second quarter. At halftime the game was tied 7-7.

The second half the Soldiers came out all fired up and ready to play. The Gladiators, well, not so much. The second half the Gladiators put on a school on how to lose a football game. The normally reliable QB missed many receivers or didn’t see open ones and when he did hit them the receiver dropped passes over and over again. The normally good offensive line was, well full of holes. If that wasn’t enough to stall drives, they fumbled a hand off and mishandle a punt that lead to a Soldiers TD. And if all of that wasn’t enough, when they did have a great play it would be called back by the refs for real and sometimes questionable penalties.

The final score was Soldiers 19, Gladiators 7. It seemed that the Glads just didn’t care and were more interested in complaining then playing good football. So, the question arises, has all of the success been too much for the players and staff to deal with. Has the curse of the 3 Peat raised its ugly head? Have the players grown too soft and too lazy with all of the success? I honestly don’t know. There is a reason that no team has ever won 3 in a row. The reason is that it is hard, very hard.

Players and coaches can lose their hunger to win and then they don’t show up for practice or don’t practice hard. They stop studying film and just expect to make adjustments on the field. They get more interested in personal statistics then great play on the field. Players can decide they know more than the coaches now and so start improvising which destroys the team dynamic.

The owner of the Bulls once told me that wining 3 in a row is really difficult. He had two chances at it and failed in a big way both times. He said, he can’t keep the players doing what they need to do. He said, he can’t keep the players minds in the right place. I am seeing that with the Gladiators right now.

As the Gladiators end their very long road trip, they have a big test coming up this week. They are playing the Magic City Bulls and its finally back at home. The Bulls have more Championships than anyone in FFA history with the Gladiators being 2nd. It’s ironic but it was the Gladiators that won both Championships that would have been 3 Peats for the Bulls. This may be the test game of the season for the Gladiators.

The Gladiators need to right the ship before it sinks. I know, its only one loss. But, it was a big loss. Now the odds are that the Gladiators will have to play in the wildcard round of the playoffs. Then take the road for the Divisional and Conference rounds of the playoffs. That can make winning that much more difficult.

Even if the Gladiators beat the Soldiers in the final game of the season, they may very well end the season with identical records. But the problem lies in that the Gladiators have a much more difficult schedule, so all the tiebreakers would likely fall to the Soldiers giving them home field advantage.

If the Gladiators have any hope for their 5th Divisional title in 6 seasons, they have to win out and stop allowing teams to score on silly mistakes. They have to return to playing good, disciplined football and not forget their basic DNA of a running, pounding, dominating team. And they have to decide to put the necessary work in. Can they do it, of course they can. Will they do it? Now that is the question real question one that may be answered this Saturday against the Magic City Bulls. This is a must win game to keep any hope alive of winning the Division.

The road to the Alliance Bowl and a 3 Peat is still within sight, however, the road got more difficult and bumpier.


Championship Cake with Donuts!

Gladiators won 29 - 0 hence the donuts in the opposing teams colors.

                      Gladiators Dominate Pirates

This Saturday, February 15th, the Gladiators took on the Dunedin Pirates in Dunedin. The Pirates have had a hard time with the Gladiators in the last 6 meetings and were hoping this time it would be different. The Pirates and the Gladiators are in the same division and the Glads have won the division 4 out of the last 5 years. 

In an attempt at a better finish in the division, the Pirates are starting this year with a brand-new head coach. Not only is he a new head coach for the Pirates, but this is his first year as a head coach anywhere. It will be tough for him as he will be competing against coaches with 10 – 50 years of coaching experience. Teams like the Gladiators are chock full of coaches with experience. In fact, the Gladiator coaching staff has over 100 years of coaching experience combined.

The Pirates worked hard in the off season recruiting and signing new talent and they have taken a big step up. In their opening game of the season they battled the West Coast Soldiers to a close 35 -31 loss. Actually, only a sideline penalty for celebrating kept them from wining that game The Soldiers in this their first year in the FFA, have been a powerhouse in previous years in other leagues. So, for the Pirates to play them close is an accomplishment.

But the Gladiators have been busy getting better as well and just this last week successfully coaxed quarter back Brian Koesling out of retirement. Brian was the former QB for the Tampa Bay Patriots and made two unsuccessful appearances in the Alliance Bowl. Brian was happily retired with a new baby but the Glads kept trying and eventually he decided to suit up for one more shot at a championship. Brian is one of the top QBs in FFA history and is a pure pocket passer. Brian will suit up and share QB duty with QB Mario Davis. Mario is an exciting run option style of QB. Both have very different skill sets, which can make the offense exciting and difficult to defend.

For this game Brian was forced to start due to a work conflict Mario had. The Gladiators like to give a new player more time to learn the system before throwing them to the wolves but this week we would have to see what Brian could do with very little practice time.

The first quarter got underway and it didn’t take long before the Gladiator offense started to gel. The running game was working and there was a new and exciting passing game to complement it. With Coach Gerald Perry’s expert play call, it didn’t take long before the Glads were just marching up and down the field. To this author the Gladiator offense looked like a hot knife going through butter. And for the Pirate defense, butter was not what they wanted. At the end of the first quarter it was Gladiators 14, Pirates 0.

The second quarter saw more of the same from the Gladiator offense with them just driving up and down the field practically at will. The Glad defense however made some unusual mistakes and in 2 drives alone picked up over 100 yards in penalties. The Pirates who had only scored 6 total points against the Gladiators in the last 6 games had all of a sudden found the endzone and put up 14 points in the second quarter.  But it didn’t matter, the Glad offense was on fire and the Glads went into the half with a 42 – 14 lead and 5 TD passes.

The second half was more about sportsmanship than anything else. The Gladiators keep the ball on the ground and just used up the clock. The Pirates tried desperately to repeat their 2nd quarter success but the Glads defense would have nothing with it. With the expert kicking and special teams of the Glads plus the stingy defense the game ended 48-14, Gladiators. With that win and this upcoming week’s forfeit, the Glads move to 4-0 on the season.

The next game for the Gladiators will be on February 29th at the West Coach Soldiers in Eastlake. If the Gladiators can win this key divisional game, they will have completed a sweep of the division and will be in the driver’s seat in the divisional race. It should be a great game as these two teams are already strong rivals.

The end of this long road trip and thankfully the first home game since January will be on March 7th against the Magic City Bulls. This game will be a battle of the two top powerhouse teams in the state of Florida and the most dominant teams the FFA has ever had. In addition, it will be the first time the Gladiators have played the Bulls at home in nearly a decade. Over the last 5 years the Gladiators have won 3 FFA Titles and the Bulls have won 2 FFA Titles. More on this game at a later date but definitely mark March 7th on your calendar, you don’t want to miss this one.

The Championship Banquet Was a Big Success

On Saturday the 23rd of Nov., the Gladiators gathered at the Winghouse of Bradenton to celebrate their 2019 Alliance Bowl Victory. A record-breaking victory at that. For the first time in history, the opposing team went scoreless. That’s right, the mighty Gladiator defense dominated and shut out the Wolverines #1 ranked offense. Then the Gladiator offense took over with multiple long and sustained drives to win 29 – 0.

Championship rings were handed out as well as team awards and Championship shirts. A great time was had by all. Now it’s time to get busy and see if the mighty Glads can pull off the 3-peat in 2020. 

Finally Headed Home!