The Maypearl Panthers held the Italy Gladiators scoreless in the second half of their home opener Friday night to boast a 27 -13 win. At the half, the Gladiators had a 13-7 lead over the Panthers, but that did not last long. Maypearl played with determination and force to find the end zone three times in the second half.
In the first half, Italy excited the fans with outstanding offense and hard-hitting defense. This team hit the field fired up and hungry for the win. The Gladiators did not display the same intensity in the second half as they did in the first and it proved costly.
In the first quarter, both teams struggled to move the ball downfield. Both also had difficulty controlling the ball. Ross Enriquez recovered a Maypearl fumble to give the Gladiators great field position. On fourth down, Derrell Ashlock batted down a Jasenio Anderson pass intended for John Isaac at the back of the end zone to save a touchdown and force Italy to turn the ball over on downs. Four plays later, Anderson recovered an Ashlock fumble.
Italy struck first in the second quarter when Anderson scored on a 7 yard keeper. Anderson’s PAT added 1 to give Italy a 7-0 lead. Maypearl retaliated on their next possession with a Derrell Ashlock 9 yard touchdown. Patrick Hughes PAT tied the score 7-7.
With :36 left on the clock, Anderson did his job again and gave the Gladiators a 13-7 halftime lead when he scored on a 2 yard option. Italy threatened again when Heath Clemons forced a Panther fumble and Diamond Rodgers recovered. With two seconds left in the half, Anderson slipped several tackles, fumbled, recovered his fumble, left the pack and hit John Isaac 2 yards shy of the goal line to end the half.
On their first possession of the third quarter, the Panthers drove 91 yards down field on nine plays. Quarterback Matt Leal scored from the 1 yard line. Patrick Hughes PAT failed. With 1:05 left in the quarter, Malcolm Watkins scored on a 3 yard scamper. Hughes PAT gave the Panthers a 20-13 lead going into the final quarter.
With 6:27 remaining in the game, Derrell Ashlock sprinted 28 yards untouched into the end zone. Hughes’ kick hit the uprights and bounced through to seal the game 27-13.
Italy will travel to Chilton next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
- Offense – Jasenio Anderson
- Defense – Zach Henanadez/Ross Enriquez/Ethan Simon
- Catch – John Issac
- Hit – Jeff Claxton
- Block – Clay Major
- Beef – Evander Holbert
- Thief – Ross Enriquez