Newton Beats Previously Undefeated Blanco + Rolls Into All-East Texas Championship Game Versus Waskom
WALLER — Blanco was 65 seconds away from taking a seven-point at halftime over Newton on Friday night.
But when the two teams trotted into their respective locker rooms, the game was tied. And once the game got going again, Newton controlled things until the final whistle.
The Eagles scored 34 answered points in a 48-21 victory in the Class 3A Division II state semifinal round.
Newton (12-3) will face Waskom at 5 p.m. Thursday in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium with a chance to win its second state title.
Even without leading their leading rusher, the Eagles’ speed was too much for Blanco (14-1).
“That’s been the difference for us all year,” Newton coach W.T. Johnston said. “We have a lot of fast kids.”
That speed was apparent in the second half. Not only did Newton’s slew of running back come up with big scoring runs in the final two quarters, but its defensive speed kept Blanco scoreless in the final 24 minutes.
Blanco led 21-14 with 1:05 left in the second quarter. But Newton senior quarterback Roney Elam, who is committed to Texas A&M to play defensive back, led the Eagles down the field and scored on a 5-yard run with eight seconds left in the half.
After that, it was all Newton.
Newton running back Calum Foster finished the night with 11 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Jaron Hanks reeled off 13 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown.
Elam only finished with 26 rushing yards, but he was 4-of-6 passing for 95 yards because of Newton’s ability to get behind Blanco’s secondary. He also had two rushing touchdowns in the win.
Blanco head coach Danny Rogers said Newton was the fastest team his squad had played all season.
“We knew all week in practice that if they got outside, we weren’t going to catch them,” Rogers said. “We let them get outside of us too much.”
Newton’s leading rusher, senior Jace Thomas, was out this week after suffering a knee injury in last week’s win against Rogers. The Eagles also missed senior nose guard Zack Conner, but it didn’t stop them from stifling Blanco’s rushing attack.
“We had to go in at halftime and change some things and the way we lined up, and that made a difference,” Johnston said.
Another difference in the second half was Newton’s ability to take care of the football. The Eagles committed a couple of first half turnovers, and Rogers said his team should have capitalized on the errors.
But Newton eliminated those mistakes in the final two quarters to keep on rolling.
Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Newton. Now, the Eagles are just one win away from adding a state championship trophy to the case.
“We’ve been through so much adversity this year, especially at the beginning of the year,” Johnston said. “They just weren’t going to be denied.”