1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #12

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 twelfth article of the season.

Gladiators Furnish Thrills To Spectators in Game With Dawson Here Last Wednesday

On Wednesday night, November 20th, Coach Douglas Cook’s Gladiators met the Dawson Bulldogs on Willis Field, and defeated them by a large score, continuing their winning streak for their ninth consecutive shutout victory of the season. The Gladiators are the Division A Champions of District 21-B. This score boosted the Gladiators total score to 319 to all their opponents 0.

The Gladiators started their most amazing record on Sept. 20, dropping Mansfield 75 to 0, their victims since then have been : Whitney 27 to 0; Frost 43 to 0; Blooming Grove 20 to 0; Hubbard 32 to 0; Milford 27 to 0; Kerens 7 to 0; Midlothian 43 to 0 and Dawson 45 to 0.

First Quarter
Bulldogs kick off. Winston Riddle receives the ball and makes a nice gain. Riddle again makes 2 good runs through the center and over left tackle, fumbles on the 42 yard line and the Bulldogs recover. The Bulldogs fail to make the necessary yardage and punt on 4th down. Captain Edward Batte makes 16 yards over left tackle. Then Riddle around his own right and goes down to the Dawson 30. A pass from B. Howell to Batte was completed making a nine gain. Rod Williams goes around his own right and twisting dodging and plunging across the goal line for the first touchdown. Score: Italy 6 Dawson 0.

Billy Howell kicks off making a good long kick, as usual. The Bulldogs fail again to make 10 yards, and punt on 4th down. Billy H. catches punt gains 25 yards and fumbles as the quarter ends.

Second Quarter
Jimmy Walston catches pass on 44 yard line, twisting, turning and dodging through to the 50 before being tackled. Then a pass from Jimmy Walston to Riddle was completed but made no gain. Walston punts on 4th down.

Bulldogs complete a pass and make 10 yards on first down. They try it again, but Billy Howell intercepts the pass and gains 20 yards around right end. Gladiators make 10 yards for first down, and on the next play, Billy Howell runs like a flash around left end about 40 yards for a touchdown. Score: Italy 12 Dawson 0.

Billy Howell kicks off a nice one and the Bulldog’s receiver is downed on his 15 yard line. Bulldogs fail to make 10 yards and punt on 4th down. Rod Williams gains 6 yards through center of line on first down, but Italy was penalized 15 yards for holding. Italy punts down to the Dawson 20 yard line and James Meharg makes a nice tackle as the half ends.

Third Quarter
Billy Howell kicks off, and the Bulldog player is downed on his 34 by Rienzi making a nice tackle. Bulldogs punt on 4th down. A pass from Billy Howell to Ned Hearn is completed for a 15 yard gain. Winston Riddle takes a hand off from Howell and gallops around left end for a 20 yard gain. A pass from Howell to Riddle is good for 15 more yards, then Howell goes off his own right tackle for a touchdown, standing up, then kicks the point. Score: Italy 19 Dawson 0.

Billy Howell makes a beautiful kick clear through the end zone, and Bulldogs take over on their own 20. On their first down, Glen Meadows, Italy’s hard hitting center gets over a nice tackle and Bulldogs make no gain. On second down, Walter Lee Williams and Rod Williams break through and tackle Dawson’s F.B. for a loss. Bulldogs punt about 40 yards.

Rod Williams goes off right tackle for a 40 yard gallop and out of bounds. W. Riddle goes around left end for 8 more yards. Then B. Howell goes off left tackle for a touchdown. Score: Italy 26 Dawson 0.

This makes Italy even 300 points for the season.

Italy kicks off. Holt receives on 20 and brings the ball back 10 yards being tackled by Vasco Baucom. Rienzi and Meadows break through and tackle Bulldogs for a loss. Dawson punts to 41 yard line. Rod Williams plows through center for 15 yards. Billy Howell goes off left tackle for 7 more yards as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter
B. Howell plows through center making 5 yards. Edward Batte over right tackle makes 6 yards more. B. Howell goes off left end for touchdown. Score: Italy 33 Dawson 0.

Italy kicks off. Bulldogs No. 75 injured on play. Bulldogs complete pretty pass. Holt to Graves, they do it again, gain about 25 yards on the two plays. Holt’s third pass intercepted by Riddle, who returning it 10 yards. B. Howell goes around right end for 17 yards. Dawson penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. B. Howell drives through center of line for touchdown. Score: Italy 29 Dawson 0.

Italy kicks off. Bulldogs catch it on 5 yard line and return to 20 yard line. Dawson’s pass intercepted by W. Riddle who returns it 10 yards. Rod Williams goes through center for another touchdown. Score: Italy 45 Dawson 0.

Italy kicks off. Bulldog free-land receives it on 10 yard line and returns 15 yards. Dawson punts. B. Howell returns it about 25 yards as the quarter ends.

This was one of the Gladiators’ most spectacular games, every player was in there doing his best and all working together, and that is what it takes.

We play Mildred at Corsicana Friday afternoon for the District Championship and sincerely hope we can still keep our record of no one scoring on us.

There is some talk of all the stores closing in Italy and everybody going to the game. That is what they should do, in appreciation of the greatest football team Italy has ever had and probably the greatest one we will ever have again.