Gladiators News · Coach Helmerich’s Weekly Huddle

Game 1 Recap!

What a great start to the season! Our boys came to play this past Friday night from the opening Kickoff Return through 4 quarters. We’ve been working diligently in the weight room, in the film room, at 7on7 tournaments, through some tough OTA’s this summer, and on the practice field. As a staff, we were absolutely thrilled that many of the things we’ve been working on were evident throughout Friday’s big win over Creekside.

The return game was on display as Min Lee, Dalton Pearson, and Nick Willis showed their elite speed and getting some great blocks to set up the offense. The Defense led by Jon Ross Maye, Caen Gress, and Jack Yensel were FLYING to the ball all night and caused 5 turnovers. QB Ben Whitlock threw 3 TDs, 2 to Pearson, and the Offense started to click and put some quality points on the board. Keep in mind that Creekside has multiple players with big time college offers and our Gladiators dominated them start to finish! Having said that, we made many mistakes that come with a preseason game. We will be working hard to fix those this week before heading to South Carolina.

I also wanted to point out something that is part of our program’s framework. Other teams, fans, and communities have this misconception that our program is made up of entitled and “soft” kids and coaches. Watch us play, watch us work. Watch our kids fight for everything they get on the field, in the classroom, and in the weight room. See our kids earning their own money out in the community at Publix, Taco Bell, and the Car Wash. Watch our Offensive and Defensive Lines and Linebackers go up against and prevail versus much bigger and sometimes much more talented groups. Our kids don’t back down – they fight and they earn what they work for. As the Head Coach, that makes me more proud than a scoreboard ever will.

I wanted to personally say thank you to our parents for a very successful 1st week. We endured the first week of school (always a challenge), scorching hot temperatures, and some necessary extra practice time throughout the week. This is my 18th year coaching and this was probably the most productive 1st week of school I’ve been a part of. Again, thank you for being flexible with us having to move practice times due to the ridiculous heat. And a special thank you to those who braved Atlanta rush hour traffic and made the trek down to support our boys this past Friday! Can’t tell you how much it means to us to see you in the stands.