[By Colby Fleet, Special to ETSN.fm]

LUFKIN -- The balanced White Oak Roughnecks and the run-heavy Newton Eagles were true to their styles Friday night.

White Oak running back Riley Lakin’s 32 carries for 179 yards and two scores coupled with Jansen McCurdy’s four catches for 199 yards fueled the Roughnecks’ 55-36 upset of No. 2 Newton in their Class 2A Division I Region III semifinal at Abe Martin Stadium.

White Oak (12-1) will face Franklin, which was a 28-14 winner over Godley, for the regional title at 7:30 p.m. next Friday at Palestine's Wildcat Stadium. Newton finished its season 12-1.

White Oak quarterback Dylan Gale completed 10 of 19 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns, and added 17 yards a score on the ground.

Newton tailback Brandon Johnson ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns, which covered 22 and 51 yards. Calum Foster added to the total with 17 touches for 99 yards and a score of his own, while quarterback Roney Elam pitched in with 12 carries for 78 yards, which included touchdowns from 49 and 8 yards out. He also completed two passes for 37 yards.

Newton marched down the field on its opening drive, running on seven of eight plays. The only pass was a 21-yard completion Elam to Authas Steele, which moved the ball to the White Oak 27. Two plays later, Johnson burst through the line for a 22-yard touchdown run, but the two-point try failed leaving the Newton lead at 6-0.

White Oak needed only 26 seconds to answer. After two incompletions, Lakin darted 43 yards for the quick strike and 7-6 White Oak lead. A fourth-and-5 conversion on a 16-yard pass to Foster from Elam, allowed Foster to finish an 11-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.

White Oak responded with a 5-yard run from Lakin — his second on the night — to push the lead 14-13 at the end of the first quarter. Facing another fourth down, Elam saw a crease in the White Oak defense and scrambled 49 yards to paydirt to help Newton regain the lead, 20-14.

After the ensuing kickoff, Gale found McCurdy for a 68-yard touchdown. And after White Oak’s defense stopped Newton on fourth-and-1 and took over on their its 49, Gale connected with McCurdy, who wrestled the ball away from a Newton defender for a 51-yard pass play own to the 1. Gale's run on third down gave White Oak a 28-20 lead with 6:31 remaining in the second.

Josh Benson recovered a Newton fumble at the Eagles' 21, which set up another Roughnecks touchdown. Gale threw a jump ball to the back corner of the end zone where Hayden Nichols snagged it for a 2-yard touchdown and a 35-20 advantage.

White Oak scored every possession of the second half. Jack Rogers kicked field goals of 22 and 25 yards, Cass Carr hauled in a 17-yard touchdown and McCurdy caught another long 69-yard scoring strike from Gale to finish out the scoring.

Newton, which rushed for 406 yards, scored a pair of second-half touchdowns on runs of 51 yards by Johnson and an 8-yarder from Elam.


White Oak 55, No. 2 Newton 36

Class 2A Division I Region III Semifinal
Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

White Oak                 14   21   10   10   --   55
Newton                     13     7     8    8    --   36
First Quarter
NEW--Brandon Johnson 22 run (pass failed), 8:08.
WO--Riley Lakin 43 run (Jake Rogers kick), 7:37.
NEW--Calum Foster 7 run (Logan Westbrook kick), 3:50.
WO--Lakin 5 run (Rogers kick), :21.
Second Quarter
NEW--Elam 49 run (Westbrook kick), 10:30.
WO--Jansen McCurdy 68 pass from Dylan Gale (Rogers kick), 10:14.
WO--Gale 1 run (Rogers kick), 6:31.
WO--Hayden Nichols 2 pass from Gale (Rogers kick), 3:20.
Third Quarter
WO--FG Rogers 22, 8:59.
NEW--Johnson 51 run (Foster run), 7:04.
WO--Cass Carr 17 pass from Gale (Rogers kick), 4:11.
Fourth Quarter
WO--McCurdy 69 pass from Gale (Rogers kick), 10:57.
NEW--Elam 8 run (Anthony Hadnot run), 7:08.
WO--FG Rogers 25, 1:05.

                                          WO                 NEW
First Downs                            22                    23
Total Yards                           452                  443
Rushes-Yards                   39-200             61-406
Passing Yards                       252                    37
Comp.-Att.-Int.                10-19-0                2-5-1
Punts-Avg.                             0-0                  0-0
Fumbles-Lost                          0-0                  1-1
Penalties-Yards                      1-8                 8-68

RUSHING--White Oak, Riley Lakin 32-179, Dylan Gale 6-17, Cass Carr 1-4. Newton, Brandon Johnson 21-167, Calum Foster 17-99, Roney Elam 12-78, Anthony Hadnot 7-69, C.J. Myers 1-1, Jace Thomas 3-(-8).
PASSING--White Oak, Gale 10-19-0--252. Newton, Elam 2-5-1--37.
RECEIVING--White Oak, Jansen McCurdy 4-199, Gabe Michael 3-24, Cass Carr 2-27, Hayden Nichols 1-2. Newton, Authas Steele 1-21, Foster 1-16.