Kayce Medlock’s Big Plays + Stifling Defense Propel Arp to Stunning 13-6 Upset of Unbeaten Newton
NACOGDOCHES -- Arp coach Dale Irwin said earlier this week that his team would have to play a perfect game to take down Newton.
It may not have been completely perfect, but it was about as close as you can get.
Arp dominated time of possession on offense and constantly frustrated Newton on defense. That, coupled with three monster plays from SMU commit Kayce Medlock, helped Arp shock second-ranked Newton -- and the state -- with a 13-6 victory Friday night at Dragon Stadium in the Class 3A Division II Region III final.
"I can't even describe it. It's unbelievable," Irwin said. "That's a heck of a football team we just played. To hold those guys to six points ... our kids just showed up tonight."
Arp is now among the final four teams standing for the first time since 2000. Arp (12-2) faces Boling in the state semifinals at a time and site to be determined. Newton (13-1), which was held to single digits for the first time in 14 months, saw its perfect season come to an end.
Newton was threatening Arp's 13-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, trekking from its own 48 to Arp's 4-yard line. Three out of four plays at one point were trick plays, including a 7-yard hook-and-ladder to JD Spikes and a 22-yard flea-flicker to Le'Damion Beaty to give Newton first-and-goal at the 9. Two plays later Newton tried a reverse pass to quarterback Brock Barbay, but officials ruled he didn't catch the ball at the goal line.
After a Tim Tebow-esque jump pass that fell incomplete, Medlock blindsided Barbay on fourth-and-goal for a 9-yard sack that gave Arp possession and allowed it to run more than four minutes off the clock before giving the ball back to Newton with 3:06 left in the game.
Newton drove 70 yards in nine plays, which ended on a 2-yard touchdown run by Tamauzia Brown to make the score 13-6 with 1:20 on the clock.
But Arp recovered the onside kick, Tyler Stewart kneeled twice and one of the state's biggest upsets of the night was written in stone.
"We've got a group of kids that started working last November after Waskom beat us and they set a goal to get back here and go further," Irwin said. "We set that goal and we worked toward it all year long, and I can't be happier for a bunch of kids."
Arp took a 6-0 lead into halftime after limiting Newton to just 48 yards on 20 plays in the first half, while Arp posted 87 yards on 33 plays. Eighteen of those plays came on Arp's first drive of the game, which lasted nearly 8 1/2 minutes but no points made it on the board after two Skylar Hotaling touchdown runs were called back because of penalties.
But things changed for Arp in the second half -- at least for one play.
Medlock took a pitch from quarterback Tyler Stewart on the first play of the third quarter and raced 76 yards for a touchdown, stiff-arming and carrying a defender with him for the final 10 yards. It gave Arp a 13-0 lead that quickly sent tremors across social media.
"We took the whole halftime to plot that play," Irwin said. "We literally said we're going to score on the first play, and the kids executed it to perfection. It's just perseverance."
Medlock also was crucial to Arp's first touchdown of the game, which happened midway through the second quarter. The SMU commit laid out for a 28-yard catch -- the only play of 20-plus yards by either team in the first half and Arp's lone completion -- to give Arp first-and-goal at the 1. Two plays later Demontrae Wade punched in a 1-yard touchdown to put Arp up 7-0 with 5:59 left in the half.
Newton looked like it would be quick to respond after returning the ensuing kickoff to the Arp 49. But on first-and-10 from the Arp 24, Spikes lost the ball on a long run and Arp recovered on its own 6-yard line to end the threat. Newton would not get farther than Arp's 47-yard line until early in the fourth quarter.
Both defenses frustrated their opponent's offense the entire night. The two teams each only had two plays of at least 20 yards and Arp finished the night with 196 yards of offense to Newton's 195, with 70 of Newton's yards coming on its final drive.
Despite his 76-yard touchdown run, Medlock finished with 57 yards on seven carries, while Wade rushed for 35 yards on 14 carries and Stewart and Hotaling added 30 yards each.
Spikes was Newton's best source of offense, finishing with 105 total yards -- 50 on the ground on 12 carries and 55 receiving on three catches. Fellow 1,000-yard rusher Darwin Barlow ran for 31 yards on 10 carries in the loss.
Barbay, who was sacked three times in the game, completed 7 of 16 passes for 114 yards, 65 of which came on Newton's final drive.
All in all, it was a dominating showcase by Arp's defense, and more importantly, a statement that these particular Tigers can play with anyone, Irwin said.
"We don't have the biggest kids and we even heard comments tonight that we weren't that big, but our kids will fight you until the end," Irwin said. "No matter how big they are or how fast they are or if they're ranked, we're going to line up and play. It was a great game. I hope we can keep this up."
Arp 13, No. 2 Newton 6
Class 3A Division II Region III Final
At Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
Newton 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Arp 0 7 6 0 -- 13
ARP -- Demontrae Wade 1 run (Ford Merritt kick), 5:59
ARP -- Kayce Medlock 76 run (kick failed), 11:38
NEW -- Tamauzia Brown 2 run (DJ Seastrunk kick failed), 1:20
First Downs 13 12
Total Yards 195 196
Rushes-Yards 30-81 43-168
Passing Yards 114 28
Comp.-Att.-Int. 7-17-0 1-4-0
Punts-Avg. 5-36.6 3-33.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-65 5-28
RUSHING--Newton, JD Spikes 12-50, Darwin Barlow 10-31, Brock Barbay 6-0, Tamauzia Brown 2-0. Arp, Kayce Medlock 7-57, Demontrae Wade 14-35, Tyler Stewart 13-30, Skylar Hotaling 5-30, Demarvion Overshown 4-16.
PASSING--Newton, Barbay 7-16-0--114, Brown 0-1-0--0. Arp, Stewart 1-4-0--28.
RECEIVING--Newton, Spikes 3-55, Noah Williams 2-22, Le'Damion Beaty 1-22, Brown 1-8. Arp, Medlock 1-28.