Gilbert looks to continue “Golden Age” in football
Gilbert High teams have produced a football Golden Age the past three seasons.
Under head coach and alumnus Chad Leaphart, the Indians have set an unprecedented success with:
– 29 victories in three years
– 3 straight playoffs berths, all with first round wins
– 2 10-plus win seasons
– First-ever region title and undefeated regular season in 2017
Coming off a 7-4 season, Gilbert recently completed spring practice focused on improving in all areas.
“This spring, we just focused on everyone getting better,” Leaphart said. “We wanted to use spring practice to get a lot of work on our lines getting them to play more physical.”
While graduating top contributors like running back Cody Temples, safety Logan McNatt and lineman Jacob Burgess, Gilbert returns 20-plus seniors. That means leadership in nearly every position, according to Leaphart.
“Jy Tolen will be our quarterback this year,” Leaphart said. “He will assume the leadership role that goes with it and will do well. Wide receiver Matt Reed, tight end Jacob Smith and left tackle Jack Leaphart will be leaders on offense. Defensively, linebackers Drew Howell and Deandre Cook will provide leadership with John Stewart in the secondary and Jaylan Pittman on the line. I am looking forward to big things from this group of seniors.”
The good news for the Indians is they open the season with three straight road games. The flip side is that it’s a formidable schedule for the second straight year with nine playoff teams from 2018.
“Our schedule is difficult, there is no doubt about it,” Leaphart said. “We play two 4A schools (Airport and Dreher) and two 5A schools (Lexington and River Bluff) and, of course (Region 5-3A champion) Strom Thurmond will be a big game,” he added. “Our guys have been in those battles before and certainly experience matters. Big games and big crowds is what Friday Night Football is all about.”
Gilbert will play host to this year’s Lexington Sportsarama Aug. 16.
2019 GILBERT FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 23 – GRAY COLLEGIATE
Aug. 30 – BATESBURG-LEESVILLE
Sept. 6 – LEXINGTON
Sept. 13 – at Airport
Sept. 20 – at Dreher
Sept. 27 – at River Bluff
Oct. 4 – SWANSEA
Oct. 18 – STROM THURMOND
Oct. 25 – at Edisto
Nov. 1 – PELION