Maypearl — The Italy Gladiators were hoping to punch into that win column against their long time rival the Maypearl Panthers Friday night but it was the Panthers who delivered a shutout blow to win 56-0 over Italy.
After seniors Kyle Fortenberry and Colin Newman led the Gladiators out from the tunnel , John Escamilla, Jack Hernandez, Ty Fernandez and Coby Jeffords represented Italy as game captains at centerfield. Maypearl won the opening toss and then quickly began asserting their will.
Italy trailed 21-0 by the end of the first-quarter with a long punt by Levi McBride, that traveled all the way to Maypearl’s 2-yard line, proving to be one of Italy’s best first-half highlights. Maypearl’s attack was relentless allowing the Panthers to build a 35-0 advantage going into halftime.
During the break, drum major Alexis Sampley led the award-winning Gladiator Regiment Marching Band and Flag Corp as they performed for Maypearl’s faithful. Italy’s band is under the direction of Jesus Perez and assistant director David Graves who pitched in on the tuba for this one.
However, the Gladiators returned for the second-half charged up and ready to play. A long kickoff return by McBride near midfield gave Italy fans hope that they might finally put points on the scoreboard for the first time this season. Unfortunately, Maypearl’s defense rose to the challenge and held the Gladiators back.
Gladiator sophomore quarterback Joe Celis did rush for 49 yards on 14 carries but could only muster 6 yards in the passing game. Freshman Kyle Tindol was Celis’s top receiver with 2 catches for 8 yards. Senior back Hunter Merimon had 7 carries for 10 yards while fellow senior Coby Jeffords had 1 carry for 12 yards with Italy’s offense struggling for the second consecutive week.
Jeffords was a bright spot on defense with 5 solo tackles and 3 assists with a few of those being the touchdown saving variety. Also raising his defensive level of play this week was senior defensive end Cody Boyd who had 5 solo tackles and 2 assists while Merimon had 2 solo tackles and 5 assists and linebacker Chris Davila had 3 solos and 3 assists.
The Pittmon twins (Aaron Pittmon and Austin Pittmon) combined for 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles and 1 caused fumble. Senior end John Byers caused a fumble as well while defensive tackle Colin Newman recorded a tackle before exiting the game with an ankle injury. Fabian Cortez helped with 2 solo tackles and 1 assist while freshman end Clay Riddle shows promise with 1 assisted tackle.
The good news is, Italy is showing improvement in several areas with one pre-season game remaining and a bye before district play. That’s plenty of time for the Gladiators and AD/HFC coach Charles Tindol to figure out a winning formula. Keep working, Guys!!!
The Gladiators are looking forward to their first home game against the visiting Blooming Grove Lions this coming Friday night, September 12, starting at 7:30 p.m. Fan support needed! Be there and be loud and proud!!
Gladiator Offensive Stats vs. Maypearl:
|Levi McBride(1)||1/-2||3/36||4/167/42 ave.|
|Joe Celis(8)||14/49||4/8/6 yds.|
Gladiator Defensive Stats vs. Maypearl:
|Gladiator(#)||Tackle||Assist||Caused Fum.||Fum. Rec.||Tackle For Loss.|
Overall MVP — Colin Newman
Offensive MVP — Ty Fernandez
Defensive — Coby Jeffords
Top Offensive Lineman — Kyle Fortenberry
Top Defensive Lineman — Cody Boyd
Hitman — Fabian Cortez
Special Teams MVP — David De La Hoya, Levi McBride