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No. 1 Newton Aims for 2-0 Start Friday Against Liberty

Newton’s Keyaun Seastrunk. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Liberty Panthers (1-0)

vs.

No. 1 Newton Eagles (1-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Singletary Stadium, Newton

 

Coaches
  • Liberty: Chad Taylor
  • Newton: W.T. Johnston

 

Last week
  • Liberty: lost 28-7 to Jasper
  • Newton: won 44-20 at Bridge City

 

Next week
  • Liberty: vs. Buna
  • Newton: vs. Orangefield

 

Playmakers

Liberty

  • RB Dennis Antoine, Sr.
  • DB Aric Foster, Sr.
  • QB Andrew Fregia, Jr.
  • RB/LB Joseph Arrington, Soph.
  • OL Josh Williams, Sr.

 

Newton

  • RB/S Kevin Shorter, Sr., 6-0, 190 (committed to Texas; 10 carries, 120 yards, 2 TDs; 4 catches, 69 yards, 1 TD; 2 tackles, 1 forced fumble)
  • QB/DB Roney Elam, Jr., 6-2, 167 (7 of 14, 205 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; 10 carries, 67 yards)
  • DB Carlton Myers, Sr., 5-10, 160 (7 tackles, 1 INT)
  • RB/DB Calum Foster, Jr., 6-0, 158 (6 carries, 86 yards, 1 TD; 4 tackles, 1 recovery)
  • WR Jace Thomas, Jr., 5-8, 170 (2 catches, 113 yards, 1 TD; 2 carries, 30 yards)
  • RB Brandon Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 185 (12 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Anthony Hadnot, Sr., 5-9, 223 (12 tackles)
  • LB Chedrick Hanks, Sr., 6-1, 205 (11 tackles)
  • DB Raylon Davis, Jr., 5-7, 160 (4 tackles, 1 recovery)
  • TE Keyaun Seastrunk, Sr., 6-1, 215 (1 catch, 23 yards)

 

Just the facts
  • Newton amassed 586 total yards in last week’s 44-20 win at Bridge City.
  • Newton retained its No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Class 2A poll.
  • Newton rushed for 381 yards against Bridge City, averaging 9.1 yards per carry.
  • Four Eagles ran for at least 51 yards against Bridge City.
  • Newton star Kevin Shorter gained 189 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns on 14 touches for an average of 13.5 yards per touch.
  • Shorter, one of East Texas’ top recruits in the 2014 class, holds almost 30 offers, but recently chose Texas over fellow finalists Texas A&M and Arkansas.
  • Jasper stifled Liberty’s offense in last week’s 28-7 Panther loss. Liberty did not score in the game’s first 42 minutes, falling behind 28-0 before getting on the scoreboard.
  • Liberty’s Dennis Antoine ran for 920 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.
  • Liberty went 3-7 in 2012.
  • Newton won last year’s meeting 64-13 at Liberty’s War Memorial Stadium.

 

Key matchup: Liberty’s defensive front vs. Newton’s rushing attack. This is a simple formula. If Liberty cannot prevent Newton from running the ball, the Panthers will have a very long night at Singletary Stadium.

Newton RB Kevin Shorter. (ETSN.fm)

Newton’s 381-yard effort in a 24-point, season-opening victory at Bridge City was simply more of the same from standouts Kevin Shorter and Brandon Johnson, who combined for 171 yards and three rushing touchdowns. What made the Eagles’ rushing attack especially dangerous was the addition of juniors Calum Foster and Roney Elam, who teamed to provide 153 yards and one touchdown on only 16 rushes.

Consider that Elam threw for 205 yards in his first start at quarterback and you’ve gotta think that the Eagles could be as good, if not better, than they were offensively a year ago, when they averaged more than 53 points per game. Elam’s 272-total-yard performance was a great sign that he’s ready to take over the playmaking duties that Arkansas signee D.J. Dean gave head coach W.T. Johnston on the ground and through the air during the Eagles’ 13-1 run in 2012.

Don’t be surprised if: Another bites the dust. Newton rolled through its non-district schedule a year ago and none of the Eagles’ three wins was greater than the 51-point beatdown they put on Liberty.

The 64-point outburst might be hard to duplicate, even if the new pieces proved last week that the Eagles may not skip a bit offensively. But it’s safe to say that Newton is a heavy favorite once again.

 

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