LUFKIN – Newton was not surprised by Friday night’s result.

The Eagles have known for a long time that they are a state championship-caliber team. They said it after a victory against Arp in the first round. They said it after a tough battle with West Rusk in the regional semifinals.

After a 45-6 victory against Waskom on Friday, they’re still saying it.

"We've been there before," defensive lineman James Sylvester said. "We put in the hard work. We do too much not to go to state. We come out here on the field and take all our anger out. We use it on the opponents. When we come into games, we play it like it's a state game."

The Eagles need just two more victories to prove themselves right. They will face Boling in the state semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Porter.

Newton (13-0) was in control from the first snap. Darwin Barlow made the first play of the game a memorable one, finding a hole in the defense to score a 69-yard touchdown.

"I knew I had to set the tone right off the bat," he said. "Once I set the tone, the pressure is on the other team."

Waskom (9-5) certainly felt that pressure. The Wildcats couldn't seem to get anything going in the first half. Meanwhile, the Eagles did whatever they wanted.

They finished the half with 280 yards. Tamauzia Brown caught a pair of touchdowns. Josh Foster threw for three and ran for one more. By halftime, the game was already decided. Newton waltzed into the locker room with a 35-6 lead.

The second half should have been easy sailing, but both teams came out sluggish. The third quarter was scoreless. After the game, coach W.T. Johnston told his team it still had plenty to work on to achieve its goal of winning state.

"We just came out flat," he said. "I don't know if it was the weather or what. We start fast every game. I think when that kid got hurt and there was a big delay, it just took the wind out of the sails. We were hitting on all cylinders and all of a sudden, the wheels fell off. Penalties are killing us. If we play somebody really good, you can't do that."

Newton eventually came together with Barlow breaking off on another long run to put the Eagles up 42-6 in the final quarter. The defense didn't allow any points in the second half. Even when Newton wasn't at its best, it still looked unbeatable.

Barlow finished the game with 205 yards on 12 carries to lead the Eagles. Brown had four catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

With two games now keeping the Eagles from their goal, they're still exuding confidence. It's hard to blame them. Aside from a 21-7 game with West Rusk, they have rolled trough the playoffs.

Johnston said a confident team can either be a good thing or a bad thing, but it hasn't stopped Newton yet.

"Last year we had a chance to win it and we think we should have," he said. "Most of these kids all played last year and they've got a bad taste in their mouth. They don't think anybody can beat 'em. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's not.

"So far, it's been a good thing."

Newton 45, Waskom 6

Class 3A Division II
Region III Semifinal
At Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

Newton                 28    7     0     10    --    45
Waskom           0      6      0    0    --    6

First quarter
NEW—Darwin Barlow 69 run (2-point failed), 11:49.
NEW--Noah Williams 30 catch from Josh Foster (2-point Foster to Barlow), 8:55.
NEW--Tamauzia Brown 29 catch from Foster (Chris Colon kick), 4:51.
NEW--Foster 1 run (Colon kick), 2:12.
Second quarter
NEW—Brown 18 catch from Foster (Colon kick), 7:53. 
WAS—Jay Reeves 39 catch from Ty Carter (PAT no good), 4:10.
Fourth Quarter
NEW--Barlow 67 run (Colon kick), 8:17.
NEW--Colon 26 field goal, 3:18.

                                            NEW                     WAS
First Downs                              11                      7
Total Yards                              434                   168
Rushes-Yards                      36-321                 46-87
Passing Yards                         113                    81
Comp.-Att.-Int.                 7-13-0                   2-5-0
Punts-Avg.                          1-50.0                5-34.0
Fumbles-Lost                         1-1                    1-1
Penalties-Yards                     6-40               2-10

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Newton, Darwin Barlow 12-205, Josh Foster 8-22, Kevin Watson 6-51, Tamauzia Brown 4-16, Davien Johnson 3-21, Validarion Fowler 2-7, Chandler Spivey 1-(-1). Waskom, Jacob Reeves 15-51, Ty Carter 14-2, Da'lyn Hill 6-16, Brian Holland 6-(-1), KT Ceasar 2-17, Chris Washington 1-2, Jay Reeves 1-1, Tristan McDonald 1-(-2).
PASSING--Newton, Foster 7-13-0--113. Waskom, Carter 2-5-0--81.
RECEIVING--Newton, Brown 4-62, Noah Williams 1-30, Bryson Thomas 1-12, Darwin Barlow 1-9. Waskom, Jacob Reeves 1-42, Jay Reeves 1-39.