IYAA football and cheerleading kicked off the 2011 season on Saturday as they welcomed the Rice Bulldogs into town for the first round of divisional games.
In the 9:00 a.m. game, the IYAA C-Team Gladiators (K-2nd) made a statement with their defense as they shutout the Bulldogs 12-0. “We have really emphasized tackling fundamentals in our practices. As we looked back on last season, we felt that was an area we needed to improve in,” stated C-Team head coach Aaron Itson.
In the 10:30 game, the defending back-to-back Superbowl Champions of the IYAA B-Team Gladiators lead 19-13 late in the contest with Ricky Pendleton scoring all three touchdowns for B-Team head coach Gary Wood. In the game’s final seconds, however, the Bulldogs capitalized on Italy’s mounting injury list and tied the game 19-19. Rice ran in for the 1-point conversion to go up 20-19 and then recovered the ensuing on-side kick to hand the IYAA B-Team their first loss in three seasons.
In a show of sportsmanship, both sides congratulated one another at midfield after the game and afterwards, as well, when opposing players crossed paths near the concession stand. Nice job!
In the 11:30 game, the IYAA A-Team Gladiators, head coached by Ken Norwood, Sr., relied on experienced veterans such as Tylan Wallace, Gary Escamilla, Isaac Salcido, Kendrick Norwood, Clay Riddle, Austin Lowe, Alex Garcia, Taron Smith and Ryder Itson to power their way to a 26-0 shutout victory over the Bulldogs.
The IYAA cheerleaders kept fans entertained and spirits high throughout the day and, as they always do….win or lose, formed a spirit alley for they players as they exited the field after each game.
The IYAA would like to thank Italy ISD and Italy High School’s Athletic Director Craig Bales for allowing use of the school’s facilities. Special thanks to our concession stand volunteers, Ervin Green at the gate, Larry Mayberry, Sr. for preparing the field and to our football and cheer coaching staffs. Also, we thank our IYAA fans for all their positive support throughout the day!
IYAA Sports, “The winning tradition starts here.”