Newton Eagles (0-0)

Vs.

Tatum Eagles (0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Eagle Stadium, Tatum

 

Coaches
  • Newton: W.T. Johnson
  • Tatum: Andy Evans
Next week
  • Newton: vs. Bridge City
  • Tatum: Open
Playmakers

Newton

  • QB/DB Roney Elam, Sr., 6-3, 170 (40 of 80, 939 yards, 11 TDs, 6 INTs; 67 carries, 437 yards, 5 TDs; 23 tackles, 5 INTs, 1 forced fumble)
  • RB/DB Calum Foster, Sr., 5-11, 175 (70 carries, 690 yards, 12 TDs; 2 catches, 59 yards; 76 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
  • OL Brent Simmons, Sr., 6-3, 287
  • DL Zack Conner, Sr., 5-11, 205 (90 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • RB Gabe Foster, Jr., 6-1, 170 (42 carries, 411 yards, 8 TDs; 3 catches, 64 yards)
  • DB Kirkland Foster, Soph., 5-11, 155
  • ATH Jace Thomas, Sr., 5-8, 170 (30 carries, 295 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches, 271 yards, 4 TDs)
  • DL Hunter Flanigan, Jr., 6-0, 160 (18 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
  • LB Raylin Davis, Sr., 5-8, 170 (96 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
  • OL/DL Dave Lewis, Sr., 6-0, 265 (50 tackles, 5 sacks)
Tatum
  • LB/RB Kyshaun Smith, Sr., 6-1, 180 (145 tackles, 18 for loss, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 1 defensive touchdown; 19 carries, 199 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD
  • LB/RB Devon Boyd, Sr., 5-10, 180 (77 tackles 17 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 1 defensive TD; 61 carries, 460 yards, 8 TDs; 7 catches, 128 yards, 3 TDs)
  • WR Deyanta Roberson, Sr., 6-2, 190 (28 catches, 508 yards, 5 TDs)
  • ATH Chaston Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 190 (2 of 5, 52 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 28 carries, 227 yards, 3 TDs; 44 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 11 PBU; 6 kickoff and punt returns for TDs)
  • QB J.D. Taylor, Jr., 6-2, 180 (72 of 121, 1,040 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs; 72 carries, 404 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB Darius Earl, Jr.
  • DB Jordan Nelson, Sr., 6-0, 170 (128 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 INT, 8 PBU, 1 defensive touchdown)
  • DL Malik Allen, Sr., 5-11, 197 (53 tackles, 10 for loss, 2 sacks)
  • WR Martin Williams, Sr., 6-3, 190 (19 catches, 268 yards, 2 TDs)
  • DL Colby Blackmon, Jr.
Just the facts
  • Tatum and Newton last met in the 2007 Class 2A Division I, Region III quarterfinals -- a 20-16 win for Tatum.
  • Tatum technically moved up one class. It was in 2A Division last season and moved up to the new 4A Division I with mostly former 3A schools.
  • Tatum returns 12 starters from last year's team.
  • Tatum reached the 2A Division I area round last season where its perfect 11-0 run through the 2013 year was ruined by Godley.
  • Newton reached the 2A Division I regional semifinals and was upset by White Oak.
  • Newton has 14 returning staters and 20 lettermen on the roster.
  • Newton's roster is highlighted by quarterback and defensive back Roney Elam, a Texas A&M commit.
Newton's Roney Elam, a Texas A&M commit, will be featured at quarterback and as a universal defensive back. (Courtesy, Twitter)

Key matchup: Newton's Roney Elam and Calum Foster against Tatum's defense. Elam is a blue chip recruit with upside at defensive back for Texas A&M, but Newton utilizes him as their quarterback. He's an overall athlete and benefits from having the ball put into his hands right at the snap. Foster is a running back with 12 touchdowns to his name last season. Stopping those two players will be the key for Tatum's defense. Kyshaun Smith and Devon Boyd will be very busy as linebackers.

Newton's offensive line is big, especially for the Class 3A level, so Tatum's linebacking duo will have to make quick decisions and be wary of the line in an effort to box in Elam and contain Foster. Tatum defensive back Jordan Nelson is the last line of defense. He's a good player to have after a junior campaign highlighted by 128 tackles.

 

Tatum's Chaston Brooks returned six kicks for touchdowns last season. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Tatum starts with fantastic field position through the game. Chaston Brooks returned six kicks for touchdowns last season. Opposing kicking games will be wary of him and sacrifice field position to not give up the big play.

From there, quarterback J.D. Thomas is a promising player for Tatum after throwing for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore. He has a nice target in Deyanta Roberson, a 6-2, 190-pound receiver. Boyd can supplement Tatum with his work on the ground.

But Newton has a defensive backfield head coach W.T. Johnson can hang his hat on. Elam and Foster anchor the back end of the defense and could make things tough all game long.