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Gladiators show form of last season in victory

By PETE YOUNG

© St. Petersburg Times,
published May 31, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- One-year wonders? Headed back to the bottom?

Gibbs doesn't think so. And the Gladiators demonstrated Wednesday that last season's playoff squad might not have been an aberration, but the start of a new trend with a 36-6 jamboree win over Pinellas Park.

Rising senior quarterback Ron Mathis, operating the Gibbs four-receiver, spread offense, was 9-for-13 for 115 yards and a touchdown in a half of action as the Gladiators led 22-0 at intermission.

The Gibbs junior varsity made it 30-0 in the third quarter, and each team scored a touchdown with the varsity on the field in the final quarter. Gibbs fullback Javon Jackson bulled into the end zone from 1 yard out twice in the first half, and Mathis hit Adam Randall (four catches, 78 yards) from 3 yards for the other score.

A Mathis-to-Chris Davis touchdown bomb on the opening possession was brought back because of a penalty.

"We've got a long way to go," said Gibbs coach Al Davis. "We're a very young team, and Pinellas Park is, too. We've got to work hard in the weight room with the linemen this summer. We've got a lot to work on."

Pinellas Park, which dressed just 30 players and was missing several projected starters for various reasons, struggled on offense.

However, running back Anwar Jones showed he can be a worthy heir to graduating All-Pinellas running back Billy Henderson. The oversized Jones (6 feet 2, 235 pounds), who also has good speed, barrelled for 77 yards on 14 carries.

"Anwar's a big load," Pinellas Park coach James Adams said. "We had some positives. We had some negatives. We had a lot of people not here who are ineligible or hurt.

"But we'll be fine. We'll get everybody back by next season."

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