GJ Gladiators kick off their 3rd season Saturday

The Gladiators are back for their third season and are starting it with a fundraiser for suicide prevention.

The Grand Junction Gladiators minor league football team opens its third season with the ‘Community Bowl’ against the Denver County Rattlers at 6 p.m. Saturday at Stocker Stadium.

Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for teenagers, and children under 12 will be admitted free of charge.

The Gladiators are raising money for the Prevention of Teen Suicide in Mesa County. A portion of the gate proceeds will be donated to the organization.

“We try to have an outreach for every game,” coach and player Ed Johnson said.

The Gladiators were 5-3 last season and 7-2 in their inaugural year in 2010.

The team has 45 players on its current roster, many of them former area high school players and some former Mesa State players. There are 15 new players on the team.

Quarterback Kevin Brunn played at Overland High School in Aurora and tried out for the Mesa State team. Running back Austin Ketchum is a Central High School graduate.

Other players include Central’s Dustin Benton and Nick Held, Palisade’s Adam Swanson and former Adams State defensive lineman Adam Warren.

The team is coached and operated by Johnson, who plays linebacker. He played defensive tackle for Mesa State from 2002 to 2004.

The Rattlers are a new team and play in the eight-team American Professional Football League II with the Gladiators.

The Gladiators have joined the APFL2 this year to possibly move on to an arena indoor football league. The Gladiators played in the Western Football Alliance last year.


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