ITALY -- The Rice Bulldogs ran into a talented team from Italy on the road Friday and fell 35-7 to Craig Horn's powerhouse club.
Horn is no stranger to the Golden Circle. He turned his alma mater Hubbard into a power before moving on to Tenaha, where he took his kids to the state title game three years ago. He left Tenaha and was at Rice briefly as the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator.
He left Rice when the Italy head coaching job opened up, and he has started to make a difference for the Gladiators, who are not only off to a 3-0 start, but are rolling past opponents, outscoring their opposition 104-14 after three weeks.
Italy is favored to win the District 8-2A DI race that includes Golden Circle teams from Dawson and Kerens.
Rice scored early and took a 7-0 lead when Zack Myers connected with Jakobe Jessie on a stop-and-go route, but Italy came back strong.
The Bulldogs (0-3) have faced a brutal schedule early and have yet to play a home game. They will finally host a game next Friday when they face Golden Circle rival Kerens, which lost a heartbreaker Friday when Mildred scored with 15 seconds left and scored on a two-point conversion to beat Kerens 8-7.