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Perennial Powers Newton + Cameron Yoe Meet in Seismic State Semifinal Clash

Newton’s Romando Stewart (15) and Kevin Shorter (3) swarm a Franklin ball carrier during the Eagles’ 49-13 fourth-round win Friday in Lufkin. (Retha McClinton, ETSN.fm)

Class 2A Division I
State Semifinal

Newton Eagles (13-0)
vs.
Cameron Yoe Yoemen (13-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Woodforest Bank Stadium, Shenandoah

Coaches
Newton: W.T. Johnston
Yoe: Rick Rhoades

Road To The Final Four

Newton

  • Bi-district: bye
  • Area: def. Teague, 68-17
  • Regional semifinal: def. Grandview, 82-35
  • Region III final: def. Franklin, 49-13

 

Cameron Yoe

  • Bi-district: bye
  • Area: def. Marion, 42-13
  • Regional semifinal: def. Lago Vista, 31-7
  • Region IV final: def. Hallettsville, 38-19

 

Playmakers

Newton

  • RB/DB Kevin Shorter, Jr., 6-1, 185 (135 carries, 1,760 yards, 31 TDs; 11 catches, 274 yards, 5 TDs; 57 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • QB/DB D.J. Dean, Sr., 5-11, 180 (45 of 86, 1,021 yards, 11 TDs, 0 INTs; 77 carries, 984 yards, 19 TDs; 34 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 forced fumble; committed to Utah)
  • RB Brandon Johnson, Jr., 5-9, 180 (156 carries, 1,098 yards, 16 TDs)
  • LB Corey Jenkins, Sr., 6-0, 195 (153 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • DE Anthony Hadnot, Jr., 5-10, 210 (108 tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 kick block, 1 punt block)
  • ATH Roney Elam, Soph., 6-2, 165 (68 pass yards, 1 TD; 16 carries, 128 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 129 yards, 1 TD; 55 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • OL/DL Zach Belcher, Sr., 5-7, 185 (107 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • DE Romando Stewart, Sr., 6-2, 205 (81 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
  • SS Raylin Davis, Soph., 5-7, 155 (105 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • DT Justin Williams, Jr., 6-0, 205 (58 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries)
  • LT Brent Simmons, Soph., 6-2, 275
  • LG Traevon Davis, Soph., 5-9, 215
  • C Tyler Gibson, Jr., 6-0, 250
  • RG Robert Kenebrew, Sr., 5-8, 215
  • RT Jordan Mattox, Jr., 5-10, 265

 

Cameron Yoe

  • QB Jason Kopriva, Jr. (210 of 339, 2,798 yards, 33 TDs, 8 INTs; 9 rush TDs)
  • DT Edgar Luna, Sr. (126 tackles, 6 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 6 recoveries, 1 punt block)
  • RB Keaton Denio, Sr. (196 carries, 1,159 yards, 9 TDs; 24 catches, 164 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Colton Shuffield, Jr. (46 catches, 900 yards, 14 TDs)
  • RB J’Juan Anderson, Jr. (99 carries, 570 yards, 3 TDs)
  • LB Somari Wright, Jr. (186 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • LB Josh Smitherman, Sr. (123 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 punt block)
  • DB Tyler Sapp, Sr. (69 tackles, 7 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
  • LB Randall Lane, Sr. (76 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries)
  • WR Aaron Sims, Soph. (43 catches, 385 yards, 3 TDs; 14 carries, 160 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Zach Felts, Sr. (35 catches, 507 yards, 9 TDs)
  • WR Colton Shelton, Sr. (20 catches, 384 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Austin Christy, Sr. (26 catches, 273 yards, 1 TD)
  • DB Justin Pratt, Jr. (35 tackles, 3 INTs)
  • LB Michael Gelner, Jr. (108 tackles, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles)

 

Just the facts

  • Newton averages 55.5 points per game and allows 12.2.
  • Cameron Yoe averages 38.0 points per game and allows 13.0.
  • Newton has won every game by at least 23 points.
  • Yoe has won three games by 1, 10, and 10 points.
  • Newton has outscored three playoff opponents 199-60.
  • Yoe has outscored three playoff opponents 111-40.
  • Newton is playing for its fifth state championship berth.
  • The Eagles have won three state championships (2A in ’74, 3A D-II in ’98, 2A D-I in ’05).
  • Yoe is playing for its third state championship berth.
  • The Yoemen have won one state championship (3A in ’81).
  • The winner could face Daingerfield, which has played both teams in the state championship before.
  • Newton beat Daingerfield 21-0 in 1998 for the 3A D-II title.
  • Yoe lost to Daingerfield 33-27 in the 2010 2A D-I championship.

 

 

Newton OL Robert Kenebrew. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Cameron Yoe’s defensive front vs. Newton’s running game. The first 13 teams that have tried to contain Newton’s running game have failed. Miserably. Now the Eagles face a Yoe defense boasting one of the top defensive tackles in Class 2A, senior Edgar Luna, who has forced seven fumbles and recorded 126 tackles and six sacks as he’s clogged the middle against just about everyone the Yoemen have played. Can he do it again against perhaps the best running game in 2A? That’s the question. Of course, if Luna and company can stop Newton up the middle, can they keep the Eagles off the edges, where Newton is especially dangerous with talented athletes like D.J. Dean, Kevin Shorter, and Brandon Johnson, speedsters who have combined for more than 3,800 rushing yards and 66 touchdowns. Newton’s ground game has been nothing short of dominant all season, and it’s been at its best in the playoffs, when Shorter has really stepped up his game. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior has averaged 195.3 yards and 4.0 touchdowns on 12.7 carries during the Eagles’ first three contests. He’s run for 15.4 yards per carry during the postseason. Cameron Yoe’s spread offense can score, which the Yoemen have shown all season, averaging almost 40 points per game. But, as crazy as it may sound, can Yoe match scores with Newton’s ground game, which is powered by a bulky offensive line?

 

Chalk talk

  • Newton coach W.T. Johnson on junior running back Kevin Shorter, who had 275 yards and four touchdowns on only 14 carries last week: “He was a little bit different player than everybody else on the field. He was a little faster, stronger and more determined. He hasn’t had to do that much all year because we held him out some during district because we were scoring so many points. He didn’t get to run like everybody else. He didn’t get 20 carries a game like some other running backs do.”
  • Johnston on Friday’s matchup against fellow unbeaten Cameron Yoe: “They’re 13-0 and we’re 13-0. Everybody’s good. There are only four left. I think they’re good on defense. I can tell they’re coached very well. They don’t do a whole lot, but what they do, they do very well.”

 

 

Newton DE Romando Stewart. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don’t be surprised if: Newton plays its closest game of the postseason to date, but prevails. Both teams are 13-0, so it’s obvious that it won’t be surprising if either team wins. But the way that Newton has destroyed everyone it has played stands out. Yoe has routed most of its opponents, but has a few close games, and last week’s Region IV title win over Hallettsville was closer than the 38-19 score. Newton just hasn’t taken its foot off the gas. The Eagles continue to pound teams into submission and out of the playoffs. Perhaps that’s an advantage for Yoe if this winds up being a close game. The Yoemen will have more clutch-moment experience having won three games by 10 points or fewer, and a spread offense than can run and throw the ball could keep Newton off balance, although Teague and Grandview failed to do so. Then again, it might not come down to close-game nerves if Newton continues playing like it has since the last day of August.

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