Newton Doubles Up Crockett In Battle Of Unbeatens
NEWTON -- A different Crockett team came out in the second half of Friday's top 10 showdown with Newton at Singletary Stadium.
This team could create the play it needed offensively. It could get critical stops. It gave life to the notion this particular contest could be a late-round playoff preview, which would not be a first between the two teams.
But almost as quickly as a competitive version of the Bulldogs emerged and pushed, Newton outside linebacker Blake Kelley knocked them back to cluttered form. He returned an interception 45 yards uncontested to put the final touches on a 42-21 Eagles win with 8:30 to play.
"They stayed in the game for a while, but that broke their back," Newton head coach W.T. Johnston said. "That's a kid that's played for us for three years. He started in the state championship game a couple of years ago as a sophomore. He played a really good game."
The Eagles, who began the week ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press' Class 3A Poll and also owned five first-place votes, elevated their overall record to 6-0 with the victory and started District 10-3A Division II competition on a high note versus the No. 8 team in the same poll.
Friday's contest was a hot topic around the state, particularly within East Texas where the Week 7 slate was not as strong as average. Except for an errant pitch on the first play of the game, which derailed Newton's opening drive, it never seemed like extra interest affected a squad with extremely talented underclassmen and a complimenting mix of veterans.
Aided by a blocked punt, a fumble recovery and senior cornerback Dearriago Seastrunk's interception at the front of the end zone on Crockett's most promising drive through the midway point of the second quarter, the Eagles built a 28-0 lead with 3:02 remaining in the first half.
Crockett (5-1, 0-1) finally began to come to life on its last drive of the frame.
Receiver Lucky Daniels converted third-and-10 from his own 35-yard line for 47 yards. Three plays later, running back Xavion Dixon got into the end zone from 12 yards after six hard runs for just 26 yards.
That score didn't mean much at the time, but the first half clock ran out on Newton's followup drive into the red zone and Crockett was due to get the ball back to start the third quarter.
Dixon led the Bulldogs on a five-minute, 62-yard drive to start the game's second act, capped by a 9-yard score for a 28-14 deficit.
Those early mistakes, though, were too much to overcome.
Newton traveled 69 yards for its response. Quarterback Brock Barbay found pay dirt from three yards and re-established a three-possession lead.
A Dixon 34-yard run at the end of the third quarter down to the Eagles' 20-yard line gave Crockett hope to hold onto. Three plays later, with 11:09 left in the game, quarterback B.J. Anderson scored from one yard.
Then, the Bulldogs forced the first Newton into its first punt since its first possession after pushing the Eagles back a net of minus-two yards.
Kelley pulled the rug out 1:30 later. He corralled a throw to no one in particular and took it the distance.
Crockett got dropped for minus-six yards its next possession, punted and both teams began working in the backups.
"We couldn't win district unless we won this game," Johnston said. "That's what our first goal this season is. You want to win the district, the next goal is to go 10-0 and the next is to play in Week 17. We try to think about that every year."
Newton more than made up for its empty opening possession at the outset. It held the Bulldogs to a three-and-out and senior tackle Thajwan Denson blocked the punt, which dropped to the ground on the right side of midfield.
The Eagles immediately found their hot hands with a second chance on offense. Barbay through the air, sophomore back Darwin Barlow on the ground and sophomore slotback Tamauzia Brown in both facets.
Barbay had 120 passing yards at halftime, Brown recorded 118 all-purpose yards and Barlow pounded his way to 112 yards on just seven touches.
Senior receiver Kirkland Foster opened scoring -- and put Newton ahead for good at the 5:48 mark of the first quarter -- with an 8-yard catch in his first game of the year off a preseason injury. Brown caught a two-point pass out of the swinging gate formation to add insult to injury.
The second quarter was all Newton after ending the first period with a turnover on downs too far out of field goal range and too close to punt the ball away.
Running back J.D. Spikes broke an 18-yard score, Brown caught a pass one Crockett cornerback tried to jump for a 68-yard touchdown and Barbay rolled out six yards for the 28-0 lead.
"We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game," Balow said. "It was going to come hard. We had a hard week of practice and felt confident we were going to get the win by the end of it."
Crockett will remain on the road for a third straight week next Friday at Corrigan-Camden, which managed to hop into a three-team tie for first place in the district alongside Newton and Garrison.
Newton will simultaneously travel to Garrison.
"I have not even looked at them," Johnston said. "We've been spending most of our time the last three weeks preparing for this one."
Newton 42, Crockett 21
District 10-3A Division II
Singletary Stadium, Newton
Crockett 0 7 7 7 -- 21
Newton 8 20 7 7 -- 42
NEWT--Kirkland Foster 8 pass from Brock Barbay (Tamauzia Brown pass from Barbay), 5:48
NEWT--J.D. Spikes 18 run (pass failed), 9:51
NEWT--Brown 68 pass from Barbay (run failed), 5:34
NEWT--Barbay 7 run (Josh Foster pass from Barbay), 3:02
CRO--Xavion Dixon 12 run (LaDarrion Jones kick), 1:04
CRO--Dixon 9 run (Jones kick), 6:56
NEWT--Barbay 3 run (Dearriago Seastrunk kick), :51
CRO--B.J. Anderson 1 run (Jones kick), 11:09
NEWT--Blake Kelley 45 interception return (Seastrunk kick), 8:30
First Downs 12 22
Total Yards 288 428
Rushes-Yards 28-151 49-287
Passing Yards 137 141
Comp.-Att.-Int. 8-26-2 6-14-0
Punts-Avg. 4-36.5 2-32.0
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 10-46 5-35
RUSHING--Crockett, Xavion Dixon 17-106, B.J. Anderson 3-24, Unlisted Player 2-16, Lucky Daniels 4-16, Derrick Sherman 1-2, TEAM 1-(-13). Newton, Darwin Barlow 15-117, J.D. Spikes 15-74, Tamauzia Brown 6-50, Brock Barbay 10-29, Evander Williams 2-15, Brodrick Spikes 1-2.
PASSING--Crockett, Anderson 8-24-2--137, Joseph Porter 0-2-0--0. Newton, Barbay 6-13-0--141, Brodrick Spikes 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING--Crockett, Lucky Daniels 3-86, Dixon 2-30, Porter 2-12, Sherman 1-9. Newton, Brown 2-95, Antwaine Hunter 3-38, Kirkland Foster 1-8.