Mighty Mite Gladiators heading to nationals

Members of the Gainesville Gladiators Mighty Mite youth football team with their coaches, back row from left, assistant coach Eric Jamerson, head coach Reggie Mosley, and assistant coach Courtney Brown. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 3:28 p.m.

The Gainesville Gladiators Mighty Mite youth football team will be playing for a national championship when the team travels to Orlando to compete in the American Youth Football & Cheer National Championships Week.

The championship games will be held beginning Sunday through Dec. 9 at Austin-Tindall Park in Kissimmee near Orlando, but the Gladiators won't know when and who they will be playing until they get there. The American Youth Football is sponsored by Under Armor. The Gladiators will be representing the Southeast region after becoming the runners-up at the Southeast regional championship tournament held two weekends ago in Ocala.

Reggie Mosley, head coach of the Gladiators, said his team lost 14-0 to the MOT Cowboys of Jacksonville in the regional championship game. The Cowboys also will be competing in the tournament.

"They are one of the premier organizations in Florida in the AYF," said Mosley of the Cowboys. He said his team went 7-0 during the regular season before winning the Florida Youth Conference championship, which propelled them into the American Youth Southeast regional championship tournament. He said the team is now 10-1.

Mosley said the Gladiators made it to the Southeast regional championship game by defeating the Ridgewater Eagles of Orlando 34-0 and the Clay Pal Packers of Orange Park 41-20 in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

His coaching assistants are Courtney Brown and Eric Jamerson and the team mom is Fernetta Brown. The players are: Dylan Banks, Courtney Brown Jr., Damien Curtis, Mike Davis, Rasheed Dipiano, Jaquan Lee, Cameron Lewis, Chancey McFadden, Thurman Mills, Gerald Mosley, Carlos Nelson, Zantavion Rushing, Xzavion Scott, Jecomiah Walker, Tanias Williams and Kedrick Wooden.

Kenneth "KeeKee" Johnson, president and founder of the Gladiators, said the Mighty Mite Gladiators are carrying out the true meaning of what it means to be a gladiator.

"I went down and saw them play in Ocala in the regionals, and the other teams had at least 30 players on their teams, and we are rolling with only 16," Johnson said. "But they understand this game is about having guts and heart and playing hard. I am very proud of them."

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