Newton Overcomes Slow Start to Take Down Silsbee
By Matt Faye [special to ETSN.fm]
NEWTON -- An admittedly "stupid coaching decision" by W.T. Johnston served as something of a wake-call for his Newton Eagles football team against Silsbee on Friday night.
On Newton's first possession of the game, the Eagles failed to convert on a fourth-down run, setting up Silsbee for an early touchdown to start the scoring.
Silsbee (0-2) wouldn't score again until the fourth quarter, and Newton's offense dominated the Tigers defense after a sluggish start for a 56-14 win Friday night at Singletary Stadium.
Newton (2-0) ended the first half with 29 unanswered points to all but put away the game before the halftime break.
"It was a bit of a wake-up call for us," Newton senior running back Darwin Barlow said of the game's opening moments. "But we knew with the type of offense we have, it was just a matter of time before we got going."
Even after Silsbee's opening touchdown, the Newton offense didn't hit its stride right away. On the Eagles next possession, senior quarterback Josh Foster was intercepted by Silsbee senior Cameron White on a deep pass down the far sideline intended for Tamauzia Brown, who appeared to not see the ball coming.
The pick was one of the rare stops for Silsbee in the first half, but the big-play attempt by Newton's offense was a sign of things to come.
Brown soon made up for the miscommunication with his quarterback by scoring touchdowns on each side of the ball.
Following a four-yard touchdown run that started the scoring for Newton, Brown intercepted Silsbee quarterback Corben Johnson, taking it back 62 yards for a pick six.
Brown's two scores were sandwiched in between a 20-yard run from Zach Gulley, and gave Newton a 19-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
After a quick 3-and-out from Silsbee's offense, Barlow got into the big-play scoring for Newton with a 75-yard touchdown run. It was one of five offensive touchdowns for Newton of more than 20-yards — three of which came on the ground from Barlow.
"Those kind of plays energize our offense and our whole team," Barlow said. "It's always fun to score like that."
Newton led 29-7 at halftime and didn't stop there. On Silsbee's second drive of the third quarter, senior Seth Craft scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery, closing the door on any Silsbee comeback.
Despite eventually putting up 56 points, Newton's offense was anything but flawless in the win, Johnston said. The Eagles turned the ball over three times — two fumbles from running backs and an interception from Foster, who finished the game 9-for-12 for 246 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
"That's the sloppiest game we've played in two years," Johnston said. "We haven't fumbled the ball in two seasons and then we can't hang onto the ball tonight. I'm not sure what was up with that."
Silsbee's offense struggled mightily after the opening touchdown and turned the ball over four times. Junior Dralyn Taylor was the Tigers best offensive threat with 120 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Silsbee completed just two passed all game. The Tigers second touchdown came late in the fourth quarter on a short run from junior Dillon Tarver.
Brown finished the night with six catches for 168 yards for Newton.
The Eagles, who won the Class 3A Div. II state championship a year ago, now look ahead to a road game next week against West Orange-Stark, which lost in the Class 4A Div. II championship game last season.
Silsbee gets Nederland next at home.
"We always talk about taking it week-by-week, but that's the game we're all looking forward to," Barlow said of playing WO-S. "We're ready to show everyone what we can do against them."