BEDFORD —The Collinsville players really felt like they had a good advantage late in the second quarter Friday against Italy.

BEDFORD —The Collinsville players really felt like they had a good advantage late in the second quarter Friday against Italy.


But with four seconds left, the Pirates’ good advantage turned into a great advantage, when Collinsville’s Michael Broyles picked up a blocked punt and took it to the end zone to give his team a three-touchdown lead at halftime.


"It was huge. We felt like we had the momentum and then to put another seven on the board, that was a great feeling," Collinsville head coach Danny David said of the late score.


The Pirates didn’t need much more offense in a 35-0 win against the Gladiators at Pennington Field in a Class 1A Division I area-round game.


Collinsville (9-3) will face Hico in the region semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Springtown.


The Pirates had already scored twice in the second quarter, both off passes from Connor Daley to Tanner Petska — one for an 11-yard score and another for 20 yards. The second touchdown came on the heels of a partially-blocked Italy punt that set the Pirates up deep in Gladiator territory.


"We started out a little slow, especially throwing the ball," David said. "But after awhile, (Daley) calmed down and was able to pinpoint throwing the ball. They were doing a great job stopping out run but we loosened up a bit and was able to run the ball in the second half."


The scoring started immediately in the second half, when John Lewis took Collinsville’s first offensive snap 40 yards for a touchdown. Lewis finished with 142 yards on the ground and added another 45 receiving. He scored again in the final quarter on a one-yard rush after gaining 40 yards earlier in the possession.


The Gladiators (6-5) struggled offensively throughout most of the first half, which only worsened when quarterback TaMarcus Sheppard went down with an apparent leg injury after fumbling the ball with 49 seconds left in the first half. Tyler Anderson took over for Sheppard, but was largely ineffective against the Pirate defense. Italy managed just 86 yards and four first downs.


"Anderson’s a great football player as well, Sheppard’s just a little faster," David said. "We just tried to not let them get loose too quick and try to contain them."