PREVIEW: Newton Looks to End Gunter’s 31-Game Winning Streak in Championship
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Newton Eagles (14-0)
Gunter Tigers (15-0)
7 p.m. Thursday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- Newton: W.T. Johnston
- Gunter: Jake Fieszel
- Newton: def. Boling, 56-28
- Gunter: def. Canadian, 56-27
- WR/DB Tamauzia Brown, Jr., 6-1, 170 (54 catches, 867 yards, 13 TDs; 45 carries, 447 yards, 4 TDs; 42 tackles, 1 for loss, 11 INTs)
- RB Darwin Barlow, Jr., 6-0, 190 (187 carries, 2,109 yards, 37 TDs; 14 catches, 189 yards, 4 TDs)
- LB Corbin Foster, Sr., 6-0, 220 (217 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- QB/DB Josh Foster, Jr., 6-1, 160 (106-of-165, 1,760, 27 TDs, 6 INTs; 72 carries, 510 yards, 14 TDs; 50 tackles, 1 INT)
- DL/LB Jadrian McGraw, Jr., 6-0, 185 (109 tackles, 7 for loss, 9 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries)
- DL James Sylvester, So., 6-5, 215 (79 tackles, 7 for loss, 7 sacks)
- OL Caiden Walker, Jr., 6-4, 276
- ATH Daylan Bower (22-of-35, 389 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 81 carries, 701 yards, 12 TDs)
- QB Ethan Everson, Jr., 6-0, 165 (24-of-41, 449 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT; 47 carries, 372 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Dylan Jantz, Jr., 5-9, 175 (78 carries, 1,061 yards, 24 TDs)
- WR Braiden Clopton, Jr., 5-9, 160 (63 carries, 849 yards, 15 TDs; 23 catches, 559 yards, 10 TDs)
- RB Zach Lowe, Sr., 5-7, 185 (76 carries, 566 yards, 8 TDs)
Just the facts
- Newton has won its playoff games by an average of 38.4 points.
- The Eagles have forced 42 turnovers -- 25 fumbles and 17 interceptions.
- Eagle running back Darwin Barlow has rushed for at least 100 yards in every playoff game.
- Newton defensive back Tamauzia Brown has 11 interceptions to lead all of East Texas.
- Gunter, the defending champion, is in the midst of a 31-game winning streak.
- The Tigers have passed 76 times this season for an average of five attempts per game.
- Despite amassing more than 4,000 rushing yards this season and averaging 315.1 yards per game on the ground, Gunter has only one 1,000-yard rusher, junior Dylan Jantz
- The Tigers give up only 7.1 points per game.
Key matchup: Gunter rushing attack against the Newton defensive front. For the third week in a row, Newton will face a team with a vaunted rushing attack. After disposing of Waskom in the regional final and slowing down Vernon Jackson and Boling as much as possible last week, The Eagles have proved they are up to the challenge.
This week, they will see a rushing attack that features many different parts. Gunter has just one 1,000-yard rusher despite having rushed for more than 4,000 yards as a team. Dylan Jantz leads the Tigers with 1,061 yards, but Braiden Clopton and Daylan Bower are not far behind. There are legitimately five players who can do damage from the backfield on Gunter's roster.
Newton fell behind early to Boling, 14-0 in the state semifinal game. It can not afford to do this against Gunter. The defensive front, led by Jadrian McGraw and James Sylvester, will need to be physical from the beginning.
Newton has the players and the confidence to halt Gunter. The Eagles can break the streak. If they play to their potential, there is no reason they shouldn't be hoisting the championship trophy.
Don't be surprised if: Darwin Barlow rushes for 150 yards. He has failed to do so only once this postseason. Even then, he managed 143.
Barlow has burst onto the scene of late, garnering offers from Baylor and Southern Miss. He leads East Texas in rushing touchdowns with 37 and has 12 in the playoffs.
Gunter's defense is talented. It allows only 7.1 points per game. However, the way Barlow has been playing, it would take a lot of slow him down. Look for him to break off on a few big runs in this one.