Willis Field, Italy — After a rousing “Meet the Gladiators” pep rally inside Italy Coliseum before the JV game, Italy’s JV Gladiators kicked off their 2010-2011 season against the Maypearl Panthers on Thursday.
The Gladiators and JV Gladiators, the Lady Gladiator Varsity and JV Volleyball teams, the Gladiator Regiment Band and Flag Corp, the Italy High School Cheerleaders and Gladiator mascot Sa’Kendra Norwood were all recognized during the community invited pep rally.
Game time: Italy waisted no time sending a message to the opposite side of the field and capped off their opening drive with a burst by Justin Wood down to Maypearl’s 7-yard line, a plowing over of Panther’s to the edge of the goal line by Chase Hamilton and then the touchdown by Wood to give the Gladiators a quick 6-0 lead. P.A.T. run stopped short.
Freshman Kevin Roldan’s first kick of the season landed on the other side of Maypearl where it was downed at the 5-yard line. An incomplete pass by the Panthers and a form tackle by Hamilton setup fourth down for Maypearl. Italy’s Eric Carson tackled the punter before he could get the kick away and Italy’s Tony Wooldridge recovered on Maypearl’s 4-yard line.
Hamilton scores standing up to give Italy a 12-0 advantage. P.A.T. results in an incomplete pass in the endzone.
Roldan kicks off and Maypearl starts from the 37-yard line. On second down, Maypearl completes a pass and advances to the 35 of Italy. Zackery Boykin stuffs the Panthers for a 1-yard loss on the next play. Italy’s Jake Escamilla pressures Maypearl’s quarterback and Carson just misses intercepting the pass. A bad snap pushes Maypearl back to the 45-yard line forcing them to punt, 2:00 left in first quarter.
Trevon Robertson returns the kick to Italy’s 30-yard line. Hamilton picks up 15-yards on a cut back to the 42. Carson cuts down a Panther and Wood moves the ball into Panther territory. Mike Clark finds room along Italy’s sideline and races all the way to the zone for 6-points, his first touchdown wearing old gold. Italy expands their lead 18-0, just :05 remain in the quarter. Maypearl intercepts the P.A.T. but Cody Medrano tackles the interceptor inside the five. Score remains 18-0 with Italy leading.
Roldan’s next kick was bobbled by the Panther’s and the result was a touchback forcing Maypearl to start from the 20-yard line. Italy’s Wooldrige and “Big” Boykin combine on the tackle to end the first quarter.
Maypearl completes a short pass but then fumbles on their next play. Noseguard Hank “Big Time” Seabolt recovers the loose ball and receives big applause from Italy’s fans. Lineman coach Stephen Coleman encouraged Hank to, “Scoop and score,” next time. Hamilton crossed the goal line on Italy’s first offensive play of the second quarter to put JV Gladiators up 24-0. P.A.T. fell incomplete.
With 8:52 left in the first half, Roldan’s kickoff was almost recovered by teammate Carson but the ball shifted out-of-bounds and Maypearl took over at their own 30. Maypearl tries a pass but the play is broken up by Paul Harris. Boykin pressures Maypearl’s quarterback on the next play and the Roldan almost caught a lineman’s dream from his right defensive tackle position but the ball grazed off his fingertips and fell incomplete.
After a punt by Maypearl and a fumble by Italy, the Panthers start again from their own 30-yard line. The Panthers tried to capitalize on their new found momentum and launch a downfield bomb. Harris zeroes in on the short throw and intercepts at midfield. Harris raced down the the Maypearl sideline to the 20 of the panthers, “1st down, Italy!”
With 5:54 to go in the half, Wooldridge carried three straight times from his quarterback position to make the score 30-0. Wooldridge also added the P.A.T. to make the count 32-0, 3:28 left in the first half.
On the ensuing kickoff by Roldan, Hamilon levels the Panther kick returner with a classic helmet to football crunching hit. Carson dove on the loose ball for Italy and Hamilton flexed his Herculean muscles in triumph. Insert crowd cheering here.
In at quarterback, two runs by Carson made the score 38-0 with 1:08 left in the half. P.A.T. stopped in backfield.
Roldan’s next kick had a chance to be returned by the Panther’s but another form tackle by Hamilton ended that fairy tale. Medrano made a solo tackle to end the half as Italy enjoyed a 38-0 lead at the break.
With a running clock in the second half, Medrano and Carson combined for fumble recovery on Maypearl’s 19-yard line. Despite carries by Name Withheld, Harris and Dominic Wilson, Maypearl held temporarily. However, with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter, Clark added a 45-yard touchdown run to give Italy an impressive 44-0 lead. Italy’s J.V. converted the P.A.T. to win the game in shutout fashion 46-0 and have yet to allow a point in two scrimmages and one game.
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