Newton Outlasts Elysian Fields In Battle Of Unbeatens
JASPER -- Elysian Fields put Newton on the ropes early in Friday's Class 3A Division II, Region III semifinal playoff game, but the local favorite to win state championship next month made enough plays down the stretch for a 30-20 win at Jasper's Bulldog Stadium.
Two second-quarter touchdown runs by J.D. Spikes allowed the Eagles to come back from a 14-0 deficit established by the Yellowjackets through the first play of the second period.
Newton (13-0) took a brief lead in the third quarter on a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brock Barbay to Antwaine Hunter ahead of a failed two-point conversion. Elysian Fields (12-1) answered right back when Sharay Ratliffe came up with a jump ball unleashed by Logan Hughes, but it missed what would have been a go-ahead extra point kick.
It was a 20-20 game at the start of the fourth quarter.
D.J. Seastrunk hit a 33-yard field goal for the Eagles in the early minutes of the final period, the defense got a stop and Spikes ran in from 24 yards to give Newton its first two-possession lead of the night.
Elysian Fields got stuffed its final drive and the Eagles were able to run the clock out.
Newton's running game, which generated 305 of the team's 380 total yards, helped Barbay throw for the remaining 75 yards.
Spikes racked up a team-best 166 yards on 18 carries. Barbay completed 3 of 4 passes, each of the attempts a relative surprise to an Elysian Fields' defense cheating up toward the run.
Ratliffe recorded 168 yards on eight catches in his final high school game. Dylan Parker, who began the week as East Texas' second-leading receiver and the was the region's leading active receiver, opened scoring with a 15-yard reception and worked toward 120 yards on six catches.
Running back Nathan Johnson's 2-yard run gave Elysian Fields its ill-fated 14-0 edge.
Ahead of the end of the regular season, a Newton-Crockett rematch from a District 10-3A Division II meeting Oct. 7 seemed a likely candidate for the Region III championship game. That won't be the case.
Elsewhere, Arp nailed a 38-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to down Crockett.
Newton and Arp will meet for the regional crown next Friday at 7 p.m. inside Nacogdoches' Dragon Stadium.