Newton + Elysian Fields Collide in Battle of Unbeatens
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
Region III Semifinal
No. 2 Newton Eagles (12-0)
No. 10 Elysian Fields Yellowjackets (12-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, Jasper
- Newton: W.T. Johnston
- Elysian Fields: Scott Ford
- Winner faces Arp or Crockett, Class 3A Division II quarterfinal
- RB J.D. Spikes, Sr., 5-9, 175 (119 carries, 1,047 yards, 17 TDs; 9 catches, 248 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Darwin Barlow, Soph., 6-0, 180 (110 carries, 1,016 yards, 13 TDs; 7 catches, 84 yards)
- ATH Tamauzia Brown, Soph., 6-2, 170 (56 carries, 537 yards, 8 TDs; 13 catches, 401 yards, 5 TDs; 42 tackles, 3 INTs)
- QB Brock Barbay, Sr., 6-2, 200 (87 of 142, 1,697 yards, 24 TDs, 3 INTs; 44 carries, 228 yards, 7 TDs)
- DE Deviun Kinnebrew, Sr., 6-0, 208 (78 tackles, 28 for loss, 14 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- DE Bryson Thomas, Jr., 6-1, 175 (65 tackles, 23 for loss, 11 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 blocked punts)
- S Blake Kelley, Sr., 5-9, 155 (85 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 5 recoveries, 1 INT, 3 blocked punts)
- LB Corbin Foster, Jr., 6-0, 220 (168 tackles, 9 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- WR Dylan Parker, Sr., 6-4, 180 (53 catches, 1,379 yards, 21 TDs)
- QB Logan Hughes, Sr., 6-2, 195 (177 of 245, 3,390 yards, 35 TDs, 10 INTs; 66 carries, 682 yards, 7 TDs)
- LB Austin Vallejo, Sr., 5-10, 190 (77 tackles, 27 for loss, 14 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 recoveries)
- RB/LB Tyrone Ratliffe Jr., Soph., 5-11, 165 (58 carries, 527 yards, 6 TDs; 100 tackles, 17 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
- ATH Sharay Ratliffe Jr., Sr., 5-10, 170 (43 catches, 683 yards, 6 TDs; 23 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs)
- ATH Christavian Smith, Fr., 5-8, 155 (107 carries, 777 yards, 13 TDs; 5 catches, 73 yards)
- RB Nathan Johnson, Jr., 6-0, 200 (86 carries, 741 yards, 11 TDs; 5 catches, 44 yards)
- WR/DB Braden Shaffer, Sr., 5-9, 165 (42 catches, 643 yards, 5 TDs; 63 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT)
Just the facts
- Newton is averaging 45.4 points and 418 yards per game -- 273.2 rushing and 144.8 passing.
- Eagles sophomore Tamauzia Brown has scored 13 touchdowns on 69 offensive touches. He averages 13.6 yards per touch.
- Newton's defense is allowing 8.2 points per game, has 53 sacks, and has forced 31 turnovers -- 11 interceptions and 20 fumbles.
- The cumulative record of Newton's opponents this season is 67-65 (.508).
- Elysian Fields is averaging 45.3 points and 542.3 yards per game -- 252.1 rushing and 290.2 passing.
- Yellowjackets quarterback Logan Hughes has thrown for at least two touchdowns in all 12 of his games this season.
- Elysian Fields' defense is allowing 15.3 points per game, has 21 sacks, and has forced 21 turnovers -- 10 interceptions and 11 fumbles.
- The cumulative record of Elysian Fields' opponents this season is 73-60 (.549).
Key matchup: Newton pass rush vs. Elysian Fields offensive line. It's hard to argue that any defense in East Texas has been as dominant as Newton's. Not only do the Eagles allow just eight points per game, which includes five shutouts, they attack opposing offenses from all angles. Newton takes the ball away, to the tune of 31 forced turnovers in only 12 games. Sophomores Josh Foster and Tamauzia Brown have combined for seven of the team's 11 interceptions, while the Newton defense has also recovered 20 fumbles, led by senior Blake Kelley's five. But where the Eagles' defense is most menacing is at the line of scrimmage. Newton has collected a whopping 137 tackles for loss (11.4 per game), including an astounding 53 sacks. And what's scary for the opponents: Newton is only getting better on the defensive side of the ball. Since its impressive 42-21 district-opening win over Crockett (11-1), Newton has allowed a total of 21 points. In those same six games, the Eagles have forced 18 turnovers and recorded 22 sacks.
Elysian Fields will certainly have its work cut out on the offensive side of the ball, but there may not be a more productive offense in all of East Texas. The Yellowjackets average close to 550 yards of offense per game, and are led by their senior quarterback Logan Hughes. The EF signal-caller began his high school career with the 'Jackets before transferring to arch-rival Waskom, and contributing to the Wildcats' state championship since of 2015. Given an opportunity to direct the offense, Hughes has thrived in his final varsity season. He comes into Friday's game third in East Texas with 3,390 passing yards to go with 35 touchdowns. If that weren't enough, Hughes is also third on the team in rushing with 682 yards and seven touchdowns. The combination of Hughes and senior receiver Dylan Parker has been nearly impossible to stop this season. Parker has almost 1,400 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns in 12 games, and averages 26 yards per reception.
Don't be surprised if: Elysian Fields sticks to the ground early. Hughes has been victimized by interceptions 10 times this season, and while that hasn't affected the bottom line for EF so far this season, Newton will be the best team the 'Jackets face all season long. Elysian Fields will still take its shots downfield, but it would make sense for EF to attempt to soften up the coverage by playing its cards close to the vest in the early going. While Elysian Fields is among the top passing teams in the region, the Yellowjackets are more than capable of establishing a ground attack. Three times this season, EF has rushed for more than 300 yards as a team, including last week's 365-yard performance against Jewett Leon.