With playoffs within reach, IYAA teams push forward against Mildred

Image: IYAA’s B-Team are undefeated (7-0) Division Champions — Congratulations to head coach Gary Wood and his assistant coaches, the IYAA B-Team Gladiators and their cheerleaders on posting an undefeated 7-0 regular season record to claim the NESA B-Team Division Championship.

IYAA’s B-Team are undefeated (7-0) Division Champions — Congratulations to head coach Gary Wood and his assistant coaches, the IYAA B-Team Gladiators and their cheerleaders on posting an undefeated 7-0 regular season record to claim the NESA B-Team Division Championship. (Barry Byers/Michele Cash)

Mildred — With each team having a bye next week, the IYAA’s cheerleaders and players had much riding on their games against Mildred on Saturday, specifically:

  • The IYAA C-Team (K-2nd), the defending 2009 Superbowl Champions, needed to seal a 3rd Place division finish and an undisputed playoff spot in the Conference Championship game to be played in Scurry Rosser (time TBA).
  • Already in sole possession of 1st place in their division and a number one seed in the conference championship playoff game, the IYAA B-Team (3rd & 4th), the defending 2009 Superbowl Champions, strived to wrap up their second consecutive undefeated regular season with a win over the Eagles and claim the 2010 NESA B-Team Division Championship.
  • The IYAA A-Team (5th & 6th), 2009 Conference Championship Finalists, needed a win to help keep their playoff hopes alive.

IYAA C-Team (5-2) vs. Mildred:

IYAA Gladiator Bryce DeBorde lead the C-Team’s cause with two first half touchdowns and a 1-point conversion run to give Italy a 13-0 advantage at halftime. Defensively, Preston Rasco recovered a Mildred fumble and tackles Rocklin Ginnette and Brennon Boyd got plenty of help from linebackers, Laveraneus Green and Ty Cash, as the the youngest Gladiators in pads posted their second shutout of the season.

Cash, Green, Jaiden Barr, Jalyn Wallace, Julius Wilson and Joseph Phillips each carried the ball for offensive coordinator Aaron Itson. However, late in the fourth quarter, it was DeBorde who stepped in under center and ran a quarterback sneak 79-yards to seal the win for Italy, 19-0 over the Eagles.

“When I get the ball, all I want to do is score a touchdown,” stated Deborde, a 2nd grader. DeBorde is the younger brother of Justin Wood who is currently a running back for Italy High School’s J.V. team.

The pre-game forecast called for a matchup between Mildred’s oversized defensive line versus C-Team’s rock ‘em sock ’em undersized offensive line. Italy’s offensive linemen, Wilson, Ginnett, Boyd, Phillips, Dustyn Rose, Taylor Sparks and Wallace at tight end seemed unfazed and got the job done against the Eagles.

“Our defense really swarmed to the ball and our smaller offensive line fired off and attacked their “X” players all game. Barr and Wilson each recovered onside kicks as well to help us secure our 5th straight win, a 3rd place finish in our division and a spot in the 2010 NESA C-Team Conference Championship game." — Barry Byers, C-Team head coach

IYAA B-Team (7-0) vs. Mildred:

Continuing to march uncontested into the playoffs, the IYAA B-Team wrapped up their second consecutive undefeated regular season with a statement victory over the Mildred Eagles, 36-0.

Italy’s first score came at the 8:19 mark of the first quarter when Taron “Talent” Smith, seemingly, dodged all eleven Eagle defenders before reaching the endzone. Ryder Itson dodged three more Eagles to score the 1-point conversion to give Italy a 7-0 lead.

On Italy’s next possession, a touchdown catch by Christian Cole extended Italy’s lead to thirteen and the conversion catch by Itson made the score 15-0. Again with the ball, a cutback run by Garrett Cash gave Italy a 21-0 cushion and Italy lead 22-0 at halftime.

With 3:20 remaining in the third quarter, Smith stripped the ball away from Mildred’s running back then ran from the flock for a 45-yard defensive touchdown. Jasean Brooks ran right for the extra point and it was all down hill for the IYAA B-Team, 29-0 Italy.

On Halloween eve, Itson put the nail in the coffin when he blitzed into Mildred’s backfield, stripped the ball, and straight-lined it 46-yards for Italy’s second defensive touchdown on the day.

Brooks sprinted around the left end to cap off the scoring as the 2010 NESA B-Team Undefeated (7-0) Division Champions, the Italy Gladiators, defeat the Mildred Eagles 36-0 and post their fourth shutout on the season.

Also, caps off to head coach Gary Wood whose teams have now gone undefeated during the regular seasons for three consecutive years (Two seasons with Bantams and this season with the Minors).

IYAA A-Team (3-3) vs. Mildred:

Italy’s A-Team got off to strong start against Mildred in the afternoon finale as both sides seemed evenly matched. The Gladiators interior lineman, consisting of twin towers, Aaron & Austin Pittmon, now world famously known as the “Beast Brothers,” Kenneth Norwood, Donald Hayes, Austin Lowe and Adrian Acevedo, were proving they could control the line-of-scrimmage early in matchup.

With linebackers Jarvis Harris and Clay Riddle clogging the middle along with Italy’s massive defensive line, Mildred was forced to think outside the box. A long reverse run down the Mildred sideline put the Eagles on the board first, 6-0. The conversion counted and Mildred had the first quarter advantage 7-0.

Italy managed to stay within striking distance of the Eagles after a touchdown by Chasston Wilson made the score 7-6. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful.

Quarterback Tylan Wallace utilized a multitude of weapons against the Mildred defense. Along with mainstays Wilson and Kendrick Norwood, other players carried the pill as well, including Fabian Cortez and Harris. However, Mildred’s defense countered every Gladiator move.

In the closing minutes of the first half, a fourth down interception by Mildred put the Eagles in scoring range near Italy’s 20-yard line. Mildred again used the reverse play to score their second touchdown. The extra point failed but the Eagles had a 7-point advantage and a 13-6 halftime lead.

Not going away, Italy’s Wilson found the endzone again for the Gladiators in the third quarter. The scoring run pulled the IYAA A-Team within 1-point of the Eagles, 13-12. Wallace was ruled down before crossing the goal line on the extra point try as the Eagles clasped tight to their 1-point lead.

With one last chance, and their season possibly on the line, Italy’s A-Team advanced the ball deep into Eagle territory. On fourth down with 4-yards needed, at Mildred’s 9-yard line, the Eagles cover a Gladiator fumble with 0:45 remaining in the game. The defensive stand by Mildred allowed the Eagles to possibly end the IYAA A-Team’s season after taking a knee to run out the final seconds.

The IYAA thanks Italy ISD’s administration, Italy High School Athletic Director Craig Bales and all our IYAA volunteers, coaches, cheerleaders and players who helped to make the 2010 regular season a memorable one. Special thanks to Junior High football players Cody Boyd and John Escamilla, and all the volunteers, from the stands, who helped run the chains, water bottles and the scoreboard. Boyd, Escamilla and other former IYAA players help during practices as well and we truly enjoy having our alumni supporting the cause.

Also, what would IYAA Football be without our amazing cheerleaders and cheer coaches. With ages ranging from kindergarten thru 6th grade, these exceptional young girls hold the banner, shake their pom-poms, execute countless cheers and perform halftime routines with true Gladiator spirit.

2010 IYAA Cheerleading Rosters:

Cheer Commissioner: Amber Hooker
Team Mom: Michele Stephens

Bantams & Minors Rosters:

Head Cheer Coach: Becky Boyd
Assistant Cheer Coach: Robin Wafer
Assistant Cheer Coach: Michele Riddle

Kammie Magness (Yay, Kammie!)

Lana Beets
Cortni Bland
Taylor Boyd
Kambric Brooks
Hannah Carr
Madelyne Chambers
Madison Galvan
Hannah Haight
Lajada Jackson
Shaniaya Johnson
Sydney Lowenthal
Emma Martinez
Lacy Mott
Caitlin Oldfield
Courtney Riddle
Jennifer Salas
Nevaeh Salcido
Virginia Stephens
Karley Sigler

Head Cheer Coach: Darla Wood

Paige Cunningham
Brooke Deborde
Elizabeth Garcia
DeCorea Green
Grace Haight
Taylor Henry
Keondra Jackson
E’lisha McGlendon
Karley Nelson
Kirby Nelson
Annie Perry
Nikki Stacks
Carlee Wafer
Moesha Walker
Quintera Washington

IYAA Sports, “The winning tradition starts here.”