RACINE -- Football news doesn't always come out of Green Bay. In Racine, fans are being treated to a big comeback story. In November 2013, thieves stole a trailer containing vital equipment for the Racine Gladiators Youth Football Team -- and now, that equipment has been replaced. This, thanks to members of the community, who have stepped up for the kids in a big way.
Racine Gladiators Youth Football players know you've got to look the part to play the part.
It has been nearly two years since the Racine Gladiators Youth Football Team was ripped off.
In November 2013, a 16-foot trailer was stolen, and that trailer was filled with gear for the youth football team. The trailer was taken sometime between November 17th and November 19th.
Everything from helmets to shoulder pads to practice equipment was inside.
"Helmets, shoulder pads, practice equipment, water bottles," Vinne Scacco, the president of the Racine Gladiators Youth Football Organization said.
It was a loss of more than $10,000 worth of vital equipment for these young football players.
"We went from having what we needed with a little reserve to being in need of quite a bit of equipment for the subsequent year -- so it was a little bit scary," Geoffrey Schick, treasurer of the Racine Gladiators Youth Football Organization said.
Since the theft, members of the community have stepped up in a big way.
"The families in this organization are second to none. They are totally committed. The kids are as well," Scacco said.
Through team fundraisers, more than $15,000 was collected, and an anonymous fan donated a new equipment trailer.
So, the Gladiators have bounced back in a big way. Not only were they able to to replace all of the stolen equipment -- this year, they were able to join a bigger and better football league.
"We are in the Sports Gone National League which is an AAU affiliated league based out of Chicago. We are the only Wisconsin program competing at that league," Schick said.
And that's all these players wanted: To play the game they love.
"We dusted ourselves off and picked ourselves up," Scacco said. "We were determined to make this happen and with the help of the families, we were able to get it going."
The team's stolen trailer and all the equipment inside were never recovered.
This year, the Gladiators are playing a full eight-week season, and for the first time ever, the team has a chance to compete in the AAU national tournament.
In the videos posted below, you can hear some concerns from parents following the theft of the equipment trailer and the equipment inside:
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Racine Gladiators Youth Football Organization.