Varsity Football Players Having Fun

Image: Touchdown — On Italy’s first possession, Jasenio Anderson hits John Isaac with a bomb in the endzone for a TD.

Touchdown — On Italy’s first possession, Jasenio Anderson hits John Isaac with a bomb in the endzone for a TD. (Anne Sutherland)

There are no helmets or pads at this event but the summer league football team is having fun. This is not officially the varsity squad from Italy but most of these guys have previously played for the team. The team is made up of 9th-11th graders from IHS and coached by Pastor Todd Gray of Central Baptist of Italy.

The time for the games is 20 minutes and half of a football field is used. The center tosses the ball to the quarterback to begin the play. Each squad plays three different games and teams in a night, rotating after each game. On Thursday night, the Italy boys won 2 out of 3 and there still is a feeling of rivalry against Maypearl. The teams defeated were Blooming Grove and Palmer.

Coach Matt Coker said, “The rules still apply for the most part with this game. This is glorified touch football. They just have to touch the one holding the ball to stop the play. No hitting but there is some blocking.”

The Italy coaching staff is just observing while the young team works on plays; however, they all have to take turns being a referee. Coach Craig Bales said, “The boys are just preparing for the season coming up. Tuning up, you might say.”

When asked why the boys are playing, Bales said, “These kids are here because they love football and just want to play.”

Coach (Rev.) Todd Gray was asked to coach the team by Coach Bales. “I love football and Jesus and I think they go together,” he smiled. “We all have a good time and I want to invest in the kids. I think being a pastor and a coach is a good opportunity and I don’t want to pass it up. I want to be out here on the football field with them.”

The next games are June 18th and 25th. There is no charge to watch the teams play. The teams include Maypearl, Palmer, Ferris, Blooming Grove, Rio Vista and Italy. Ferris and Rio Vista will play only one time for the season. Everyone is invited to watch the teams at Italy’s football field.

Check out the Italy Neotribune Community Calendar for the upcoming game schedule.