1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #11

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 eleventh article of the season.

The Italy-Midlothian Game Was Another Big Unanimous Victory

Italy Gladiators continued their march toward the district championship last Friday night when they defeated Midlothian Panthers by the usual one-sided score piled up by the Gladiators.

They took the strong Midlothians to the tune of 43 to 0. The game was played on Willis Field here Friday night with a large crowd in attendance. Despite the extreme cold weather, Midlothian had a large number of substitutes besides their regular team, and although they outweighed our boys a great deal and were a Class A team, Italy gave them a nice beating to the tune of 43 to 0.

It is hard to say who was the stars of this game for every Italy player did his level best all the way through the game, and their best was a plenty. We never saw better team work and they used their heads as well as brawn and muscle.

The first touchdown was made by Captain Edward Batte, in the first seven seconds of the game. Billy Howell made a beautiful kick-off clear down behind the Midlothian goal. The Midlothian players failed to kill the ball and Edward Batte simply ran down there and picked up the ball and touched the ground. That was the quickest touchdown we ever saw made. It dumfounded the Midlothianers so bad they went into a huddle and stayed for some time, wondering how that happened, and lots of the fans did not know what about it either.

The second touchdown was made by Rod Williams, the hard hitting boy who goes through most lines for at least five yards every time he is called on. Italy kicked off and Midlothian’s punt on the fourth down was blocked by one of the Gladiators. Rod Williams caught it on the bounce and ran for a touchdown. Billy Howell kicked the point, making two touchdowns in about four minutes and before Italy had over gained possession of the ball.

The third touchdown was made by Rod Williams going through the center of the line and cutting back to the right. Score at the half 19 to 0.

The fourth touchdown was made by Billy Howell who feinted back on a fake pass, allowing the opposing line to charge thru then he circled the left end of his own line and out ran the second man from the corner, for about 50 yards, and that was a real race, for the Midlothian boy was really trying to reach Howell, the fast, light-weight hot shot of the team.

The fifth touchdown was made by Rod Williams, on a direct plunge off the weak side and out ran secondary for goal line.

The sixth touchdown was made by Billy Howell, going off left tackle and cutting back to the right, and crossed the goal line standing up.

The 7th was made by Rod Williams on a hard hitting direct plunge.
Lester Fuston caught a beauty of a pass during the last half of the game, made a nice run and pulled the Gladiators out of a hole.

Winston Riddle pulled the most sensational tackle of the game, tackling a fast Midlothian man low and turned him a complete flip and half over again.

Leonard Rienzi didn’t get mad until one of the Midlothian men tore his new glove and then things started to happening.

The Midlothian fans said Italy had the best line they faced this year.

Boys, we are all proud of you and of the good clean way you play ball. You have one of the best of coaches. Mr. Cook is a fine man and we are indeed grateful to him for the splendid record our boys have made to date. We have made 274 points without being scored on and that’s some record.

The championship game for district 21-B title will be played Friday afternoon, 2:30, at Corsicana between Mildred and Italy.