Chan Amie Leads the Dominating Charge By Waskom’s Defense + Special Teams in State Title Game
ARLINGTON -- Newton had the lead on Waskom for exactly 15 seconds on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.
Then Chan Amie happened.
Take away his rushing touchdown, his 24 tackles, his forced fumble and his Defensive MVP plaque, and you still would point to Waskom's No. 15 as the X-factor in the Wildcats' 41-22 win over Newton for the Class 3A Division II state title.
Mere seconds after Calum Foster's touchdown run and Newton's successful two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead on Waskom with 8:01 left in the first half, Amie took the kickoff, took a big loop around toward the left sideline and got some key blocks.
From there -- as the saying goes these days -- "he gone."
Eighty-eight yards and 15 seconds later, Amie's kickoff return for a touchdown was the turning point.
"We score to get some momentum, and they do that," Newton coach W.T. Johnston said. "That was big. I didn't feel good kicking deep to them all night."
The return ignited a 27-0 run by the Wildcats, who took a 34-8 lead with 1:02 left in the third after a fumble forced by -- you guessed it, Chan Amie -- ended up in the arms of Keileon Foster for a 1-yard return for a touchdown, ultimately icing the game.
"We've practiced that kickoff return since August, and the kids blocked it perfectly," Waskom coach Whitney Keeling said. "If you watch it on tape, and I got to see it on the big screen, it was great blocking by those guys."
Amie's return was Waskom's 13th kickoff or punt return for a touchdown in 2014.
And he didn't stop there.
The junior linebacker posted 13 tackles in the first half with 11 more in the second. Amie was in on a tackle on almost 50 percent of Newton's 51 total plays. He led a defense that limited Newton to 4.5 yards per carry. Eagles running back Calum Foster, who came into the game averaging 10.9 yards per attempt, finished at 6.2 against Waskom.
"Chan is our emotional leader," Keeling said. "He's one of those guys that frustrates the other team because he's always going to be around the ball. Always."
Kevin Johnson was the game's Offensive MVP, but he posted 12 tackles to give the duo a total of 36 for the game.
"That's the best tackling team we've played all year," Johnston said.
Amie's kickoff return was the first of two big special teams plays by Waskom. The Wildcats' only punt late in the third quarter was a 59-yarder that rolled for seemingly forever until it was downed at the Newton 2.
Three plays later, Amie stripped the ball out of Jaron Hanks' hands and it flew into the arms of Keileon Johnson, who dove into the end zone for the punctuation mark.
"Number one is you have to emphasize (special teams)," Keeling said. "Special teams is just as important as offense and defense, and our coaches do a great job of that."