1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #8

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his eighth article of the season.

Gladiators Smash Hubbard City By Easy 32-0 Margin

Football fans who have followed the Italy Gladiators through their first five games have come to expect a certain series of events in the first few moments of play. Things run along this order: Italy receives the kickoff. In the first series of downs they look very, very ragged, fail to gain and the ball goes over to the opposition. The opposing team promptly shoots the works and threatens to score – at least it seems that way. Italy manages to pull together and hold however, then, in short order, get down to the business of the evening.

That’s the order of the past three games at least. Italy’s looked bad, then suddenly come to life and gone on the march. Last Friday they won their fifth consecutive victory of the season defeating Hubbard City, 32-0 on Willis Field. The victory brought Italy a total of 197 points since the season began. The opposing elevens have failed to tally.

Last Friday night, Italy received the kickoff, failed to gain through the Hubbard City line on two plays and elected to kick on third down. It was a good decision for the kick was promptly and effectively blocked and rolled to about the ten yard line where Howell fell on it. After Italy kicked out of danger, Hubbard City brought a left-handed passer to light and went on the march again. Young Jimmy Walston changed things to their proper light and opened things up for the Gladiators for the evening, when he intercepted one of these passes and returned fifty yards to the HC 35 before he was knocked down. Italy was penalized back to the fifty on the play, however, because somebody was a “Baaad” Boy.

Italy did not score in the first quarter. Getting under way in the second period, the Gladiators unleashed an attack which brought the crowd to its feet under these circumstances:

Batte crashed over right tackle for (oh say 15 yards) for a touchdown. Jimmy Walston (of all things) drop-kicked the extra point.

In the third quarter, Billy Howell (where had he been all night) slid off right end and (for once he actually looked like he was running fast) went about fifty yards for a touchdown.

Howell’s try at the extra point was blocked and Lester Fuston grabbed the ball, paused to pluck a few dandelions or something and casually walked over the goal line. The point counted.

In the same period, Howell backed up a couple of steps or so (apparently to get a running start) and again it was a touchdown. This time he went 30 yards.

Somebody blocked a HC punt, Italy recovered on the eight. Three plays later Williams went over left tackle. Another touchdown.

Edward Batte decided Italy should not be playing the ball from their own 28 so he smacked the line and didn’t stop. It was a 72 yard gallop and Italy’s last tally. But enough.

The Hubbard game marked the midway point for the season for the Gladiators, and their second conference victory. To date, Italy has won five games, scored 197 points and their own goal line remains untouched. Italy is the only undefeated eleven in Ellis County.