For a program that didn’t start until the mid 1960’s, Gladstone is one of the most accomplished schools in all of 4A. Four state championships, nine 10+ win seasons, and an abundance of league championships. It’s no surprise then that when the head football coach spot at Gladstone opened, following the departure of Wayne Harris after three seasons, AD Cody Acker would turn to one of the coaches who had brought them success in the past: Jon Jedrykowski.
Jedrykowski, a 13 year assistant before becoming head coach at Gladstone in 2014, has ‘been there, done that’. Jedrykowski took Gladstone all the way to a state championship in just his first year as Head coach, but after a disappointing 4-6 2015 campaign, he stepped down and has spent the last few seasons at Central Catholic.
The winds of change can often be familiar, which is exactly what Gladstone is betting on.
Jedrykowski doesn’t see any reason Gladstone shouldn’t be in the contention conversation, “We lost some key players but we also have some key returners that I believe can carry this team.”
Key players lost include 1st team all-state WR/LB Ben Hill, OL/DL Jackson Simmons, and 2nd team all-state OL/DL Jack Foss. Returning is 2nd team all-state RB Mason Scheehean, who will lead the Gladiator offense. Scheehean averaged just over 98 yards per game on the ground in 2018, and was Gladstone’s leader in all-purpose yards. Also returning is 2nd team all state Kicker Mateo Burgos and 2nd team all state DB Jaxon Jedrykowski.
Gladstone will open up their season at Banks on Sept. 6. The Gladiators were the only squad to beat the eventual champions last season, and were robbed of the opportunity for round two by Seaside. The Gladiators, who have progressed from a First Round Appearance in 2016, to a Quarterfinal appearance in 2017, to a semifinal appearance in 2018, are an early favorite to advance to their first state championship game since 2014 and finish the ascention of the last 3 years.
Week 1 against the defending state champions on the road (Banks), Week 2 on the road against a fellow 2018 semifinalist (Marshfield), and Week 3 against the 2018 state runner-up (Seaside). Coach Jedrykowski said about the schedule, “I’m really excited to see this team compete, our first two games against Marshfield and Banks will be really telling, and we’ll need some kids to step up in big positions and get it done.”
We predict that Gladstone will go anywhere from 8-0 to 6-2. The early schedule can only be compared to being thrown into a lions den in a full meat suit, but an easier league schedule will provide for a softer middle and end to the regular season.
Expect Gladstone to be playing deep into November, and possibly the first week of December as well.