Italy — The junior high Gladiators guided by coaches Jon Cady and Bobby Campbell, welcomed the Hubbard Jaguars to Willis Field but after a burst of rain soaked the field just before kickoff, both teams went scoreless in the first quarter.
As the mud thickened, so did did the plot with the ball spotted inside Hubbard’s 20-yard line and with the Gladiators on the march. Running back Kyle Tindol, the son of Italy’s ISD’s AD/HFC Charles Tindol, took the handoff from quarterback Tylan Wallace and raced around the right side for a touchdown to put Italy up 6-0 at halftime.
To start the second half, both teams went scoreless in the third thanks to solid defensive performances by end Clay Riddle on one side and Tindol at outside linebacker on the other. Credit Italy’s defensive front and inside linebackers Anthony Lusk and Kendrick Norwood, as well, especially when it came to defending against Hubbard’s running game on the slick field.
In the fourth-quarter, however, Hubbard broke a long run to tie the matchup 6-6. Fortunately, the 2-point conversion pass attempt by the Jags was defended well by Lusk, Tindol and Chasston Wilson to keep the game tied with 5:10 remaining in the contest of wills.
On Italy’s ensuing drive and with plenty of time on the clock, the Gladiators traversed their way down the field relying heavily on tailback Kendrick Norwood who had shouldered the majority of the offensive load throughout the game.
With :03 seconds left on the clock, Italy had made all the way to Hubbard’s goal line. A nervous Wallace, he admitted after the game, took the snap from under center and slashed off right tackle to dive across the muddy stripe for the game winning touchdown!
Italy’s junior high players celebrated their dramatic 12-6 victory as a team before everyone settled in for the JV game.
After Italy captains Kenneth Norwood, Jr., and Kyle Machovick deferred the coin toss, David De La Hoya kicked off to Hubbard to begin the JV action. Italy’s defense began the game playing exceptionally well with Kyle Machovich making several tackles as well Joe Celis. Inside tackle Adrian Acevedo delivered a hard hit on a Hubbard Jag, with help from Machovich, and safety Jorge Galvan located a Jag ball carrier near the line-of-scrimmage to help the Italy shutdown Hubbard’s offense during the first-quarter of play.
In the second-quarter, Hubbard got rolling a bit and scored from inside the 5-yard line despite the best efforts of linebacker Kenneth Norwood who had just made a tackle in the Jaguar backfield on a previous play. The conversion run was successful to help Hubbard’s JV squad take a pivotal 8-0 lead with lightning and a storm rolling in from the distance.
As Coach Tindol kept his eye on the storm’s progression using a storm tracker, Italy’s offense tried to match Hubbard on the scoreboard before a potential game cancellation. Unfortunately, Hubbard’s defense held and with the Jags back on offense and with 1:12 to play in the first half. The game was delayed for 30 minutes due to the inclement weather but the lightning and the rains never stopped.