In Week 4, IYAA football players and cheerleaders traveled to Palmer to take on the Bulldogs in their own back yard. There were plenty of big plays and even bigger smiles, and by days end, it’s the experiences gained and the camaraderie shared that coaches and mentors hope will benefit our local youth in their future endeavors.
IYAA Bantams (K-2nd):
Palmer received the opening kickoff from Italy’s Byron Davis. Palmer fumbled on their first offensive play and Bryce DeBorde recovered for the IYAA Bantam team (K-2nd). Jaiden Barr maneuvered his way thru the Palmer defense and into the endzone to put Italy up 6-0. The conversion run by Laveranues Green counted to make the score 7-0.
Palmer’s next drive stalled in Gladiator territory and DeBorde rumbled 53-yards before being brought down just outside the Palmer endzone. After a Ty Cash touchdown was called back due to a holding call, Italy’s Darrin Jackson received the handoff from Cash and outraced the Bulldogs to the endzone giving Italy a 13-0 lead. In the stands, Alicia and Tony Jackson were thrilled to watch Darrin, a first grader, score his first career touchdown. The conversion attempt by Cash was stuffed by the Palmer defense.
In the second half, Bryce DeBorde returned the kickoff past midfield thanks to a devastating block by kindergardener Triston Hayes. Moments later, DeBorde broke out of the backfield and away from Palmer tacklers for a 45-yard touchdown. The amazing run helped Italy build a 19-0 advantage. On the conversion try, Preston Rasco was unable to escape the Palmer defense and the score remained 19-0.
Palmer’s offense reached the endzone and ran in the extra point hoping to claw their way back into the game. However, a long run by Italy’s Julius Wilson placed the Gladiators in scoring position with just minutes left in the contest, and a chance to seal the victory.
Davis ran right and then cut across the goal line for 6 more points as the IYAA Bantam team earns their first win of the season 25-7 over Palmer and improves their record to 1-2.
IYAA Minors (3rd & 4th):
With 3rd graders from both sides recognizing one another from last season’s Superbowl duel, the Palmer’s defense sent a message early with two quick tackles in Italy’s backfield. The Gladiators’ offense had their struggles in this one and Italy trailed 12-6 late in the fourth quarter. Italy’s lone touchdown to that point was a run by quarterback Taron Smith.
In the final few minutes, Italy’s Ryder Itson decided enough was enough and ran in for the tying score. Smith punched in the extra point as Italy’s Minors find a way and win 13-12 to remain undefeated at 3-0.
“Ferris, Scurry-Rosser and Palmer are likely the three toughest teams we’ll face this season and we managed to survive each of them early on. I’m proud of our players for hanging in there. Close games are actually my favorite…as long as we win,” smiled IYAA Minors head coach Gary Wood.
IYAA Majors (4th & 5th):
Scoreless after the opening quarter, Palmer reached the goal line in the second quarter to go up 8-0 and never looked back. The Bulldogs continued to roll and eventually won the contest 27-0 over the Italy Majors team who are now 1-1 to start the season.
More important than the final score, beloved head coach Ken Norwood was on the sideline Saturday to assist the players after being hospitalized earlier in the week. Welcome back, Coach!
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Photos by: Michele Cash of TLC Photography
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