Newton coach W.T. Johnston isn't one to downplay championships when he thinks his program is in contention for the title.

He felt like the Eagles should have won the Class 3A Division II crown this past season in spite of the sophomore class possessing a majority of the raw talent. Sophomores mature on and off the field, so the future is pretty bright.

Cornerback and receiver Tamauzia Brown is one of those sophomores. He's the Defensive Newcomer of the Year on the 2016 East Texas Football Super Team.

"He's the guy that we put on the other team's best receiver," Johnston said. "We let him just man up while we play zone on the other side. He's a kid where his best days are still to come. He hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can become. A very gifted athlete that can run, jump and has really good ball skills.

"He can be like some of the good ones we've had signed from here that go to Texas A&M or Arkansas. He can be that kind of guy and I think he will be that kind of guy. It is just up to him and how hard he wants to work to get there."

That's some high praise, but Brown's numbers support the evaluation. Cornerbacks are pretty limited in scope since they defend the wideouts and yet this corner made 46 tackles, caught five interceptions and batted down another 11 balls on the way to a Region III championship game appearance.

Brown also recorded more than 1,000 offensive yards as a running back and receiver. He additionally racked up 275 yards on 13 punt returns.

"I can play other positions, but I'm really comfortable with corner," Brown said. "I like to challenge myself and hold the best receivers. I'm trying to play college football and am hoping to hold some good receivers in college."

Johnston loves that Brown participates in multiple other sports -- basketball, track and baseball -- but it makes it difficult for the coaches to keep him developing as a college football prospect.

That's one of the big challenges this offseason.

"He's one of the few kids we have that can do four sports," Johnston said. "He's just a natural at all of them. He never played baseball until last year, but he's a natural at that. He can throw it, catch and run. So, the thing we're trying to do is get him in the weight room when we can. He has so much going on. And the weight room is going to be a huge part of his development."

Once Brown is back with the football team full-time, however, the sky's the limit for Newton.

"We always think we have a chance to win it, and that's what you're shooting for," Johnston said. "We're going to be more athletic next year. We were really athletic this year, but the freshman kids I have moved to varsity are very athletic. I've moved 20 of 40 of them up. We have to have some kids come through, like Josh Foster at quarterback. But I think we have a chance to be as good or better than we were this past year."

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