IJH and JV football teams wrap up seasons against Itasca

Image: Ethan Saxon(44) lunges for extra yards against Itasca — Ethan Saxon(44) rumbles and stumbles for yardage as he moves toward the goal line against Itasca. Italy’s JV took care of the Wampus Cats 32-0 on Thursday in Italy.

Ethan Saxon(44) lunges for extra yards against Itasca — Ethan Saxon(44) rumbles and stumbles for yardage as he moves toward the goal line against Itasca. Italy’s JV took care of the Wampus Cats 32-0 on Thursday in Italy. (Barry Byers)

Italy Junior High
The Italy Junior High Football Team wrapped up its 2008 season against the Itasca Wampus Cats at Willis Field in Italy. Italy was hoping to finish the season with a win but Itasca had other plans.

Italy’s Kevin Roldan kicked off for the Gladiators and Darol Mayberry delivered a brutal hit to the Itasca return man. The momentum was fleeting, however, as Itasca turned their first offensive play of the game into a 45-yard touchdown. The PAT kick clanged the upright and bounced back, Itasca had the quick lead 6-0.

Unable to respond, Italy’s Trevon Robertson punted the ball back to Itsasca. The Wampus cats scored on the ensuing handoff to go ahead 12-0, the PAT kick missed again.

On Italy’s next possession, Quarterback, J.T. Escamilla rolled left and took a shot right in the mid-section as he a passed to [Name Withheld] who then galloped 82-yards for the touchdown. Unfortunately, the exciting play was nulified by a clipping penalty, and Italy punted again.

Two plays later, Itasca was in Italy’s endzone once more to go up 18-0. The PAT kick dropped short.

Later in 2nd quarter, a mishandled snap by Italy was recovered by the Wampus Cats to setup another touchdown for Itasca. The Cats took a 25-0 lead into halftime after their PAT kick split the uprights.

With bursts by Cody Medrano and Robertson, Italy managed to move the ball more effectively in the second half. Unfortunately, another mishandled snap by the Gladiators was scooped up by Itasca for another Itasca touchdown. The PAT missed and the score was 32-0 heading into the final period.

A quick score by Itasca in the 4th to make it 39-0, forced Italy Coach Josh Ward to insert tight end Bailey Walton in at quarterback, hoping to spark the Gladiator offense.

The decision paid off as Walton hammered the Cats. And when the play call went back to Medrano with 2:00 minutes remaining in the game, Medrano ran right and didn’t stop until he reached the endzone. The effort helped Italy to avoid the shutout, 39-6, and earned them a nice applause from IJH Gladiator fans as the game came to a close.

Good luck to the 8th graders who will move up to the JV level next season!

Italy JV
Rain outs and schools without JV squads have made the 2009 JV schedule bizarre to say the least. A hard working group, the JV kept practicing and staying sharp, playing at a high level when given the opportunities. Consequently, the Italy JV Gladiators capped off their overall successful season with a dominant performance over Itasca.

With a few of their teammates moved up to the Varsity squad, the JV Gladiators still managed to punish the competition. Chase Hamilton started the show off by following his lead blocker, Ethan Simon, off right tackle for a 68-yard sprint to the endzone. Quarterback Tony Wooldridge added the 2-point conversion with a diving effort to break the plain of the goal line.

Already ahead 8-0, Ethan Saxon then did the honors when he raced around the left of Itasca’s defense to make the score 14-0. The conversion pass from Wooldridge to Frazier went incomplete.

Hamilton kicked his way 70-yards past Italy’s home stands to make the score 20-0 at halftime. Itasca was left licking their wounds during the break as they had no answer for the JV Gladiators.

In the 3rd quarter, Hamilton wasn’t done, running for a 60-yard touchdown and putting the JV Gladiators up 26-0. The conversion pass from Wooldridge to Jase Holden went incomplete near the back of the endzone.

Later, however, Wooldridge connected with Holden for a 70-yard touchdown pass. And even though a penalty brought it back, Italy fans still got to witness the big play ability of the JV Gladiators.

Saxon tacked on 6 more points from 5-yards out to make the final score 32-0 in favor of the Italy JV Gladiators. Coaches and fans can’t help being excited about these young Gladiators and look forward to following their progress over the next few years.