PREVIEW: Waskom Runs Into Newton in Regional Final
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
REGION III CHAMPIONSHIP
Newton Eagles (12-0)
Waskom Wildcats (9-4)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
- Newton: W.T. Johnston
- Waskom: Whitney Keeling
- Winner faces either Lexington or Boling, state semifinals
- WR/DB Tamauzia Brown, Jr., 6-1, 170 (44 catches, 721 yards, 11 TDs; 37 carries, 355 yards, 4 TDs; 33 tackles, 1 for loss, 11 INTs)
- RB Darwin Barlow, Jr., 6-0, 190 (164 carries, 1,734 yards, 33 TDs; 12 catches, 117 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Corbin Foster, Sr., 6-0, 220 (178 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 recoveries)
- QB/DB Josh Foster, Jr., 6-1, 160 (92-of-142, 1,471, 22 TDs, 6 INTs; 59 carries, 461 yards, 11 TDs; 37 tackles, 1 INT)
- DL/LB Jadrian McGraw, Jr., 6-0, 185 (89 tackles, 5 for loss, 7 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DL James Sylvester, So., 6-5, 215 (63 tackles, 7 for loss, 7 sacks)
- OL Caiden Walker, Jr., 6-4, 276
- RB T.K. Hamilton, Jr., 5-11, 155 (175 carries, 1,815 yards, 26 TDs)
- QB Ty Carter, Sr., 6-0, 185 (15-of-36, 264 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs; 100 carries, 393 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Jack Smith, Sr., 6-3, 325
- RB Jacob Reeves, Jr., 5-10, 190 (136 carries, 787 yards, 8 TDs)
- LB Brighton Harris, Jr., 5-10, 160 (63 tackles, 10 for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Tristan McDonald, Jr. (120 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 fumbles recoveries, 3 QB hurries, 2 INTs)
- DB Lamontre Stephens, Jr. (99 tackles, 13 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT, 8 QB hurries)
- RB/DB Da'lyn Hill, Jr., 5-8, 155 (81 carries, 678 yards, 6 TDs)
- OL Christian Smith, Sr., 5-11, 299
Just the facts
- Waskom is scoring 33.7 points per game and allowing 22.2
- That makes the Wildcats' averaging margin of victory 15.5 points per game.
- Waskom running back T.K. Hamilton ranks among the top 10 running backs in East Texas with 1,815 yards the season and an average of 10.3 yards per carry.
- Waskom is winning each of its playoff games by an average of 25.6 points.
- Newton has given up just 18 points in its past seven games.
- The Eagles are scoring 53.6 points per game and allowing 7.8 for an average margin of victory of 45.8 points.
- Newton is averaging 444.4 yards -- 311.8 rushing and 132.6 passing -- per game this season.
- Eagle running back Darwin Barlow, who has 33 rushing touchdowns and is averaging 10.6 yards per carry, earned his first two college offer from Baylor and Southern Miss this week.
Key matchup: Waskom running attack against the Newton front. Newton has allowed little in terms of scoring of late. The Eagles are giving up just 7.8 points per game this season and have allowed 18 over their past seven games.
In the regional semifinals against West Rusk, the Eagles scored their lowest point total of the season. They used their defense to hold the Raiders to only seven points, halting several scoring drives.
Waskom loves to run the ball, with the Wildcats averaging 401.6 yards per game on the ground. T.K. Hamilton has led the way with 10.3 yards per carry to go with 26 touchdowns this season. Waskom will feed him the ball plenty.
Hamilton isn't doing this work alone, though. Jacob Reeves and Da'lyn Hill add another nearly 1,500 yards on the ground and quarterback Ty Carter has more rushing yards (393) than passing (264).
Waskom will meet plenty of talent. Corbin Foster is perhaps Newton's best defensive player at linebacker with 178 tackles this season. James Sylvester and Hadrian McGraw have combined for 14 sacks this season. It will be tough for the Wildcats to get anything going against this team.
However, if Waskom hopes to keep its season alive, it's going to need run an effective offense in spite of Newton's skill.
Don't be surprised if: Newton wins by plenty. Waskom has played hard this postseason, rolling through opponents in assertive victories. However, Newton might be too big a giant for Waskom to kill.
Even when West Rusk held Newton to its lowest total of the season by 19 points, it still lost by two touchdowns. The Eagles are locked in and don;t appear to be prone to many mistakes. Their margin of victory suggests a team that has been largely in control.
Darwin Barlow is a 1,700-yard rusher, they can air it out to Tamauzia Brown when they need to. He has more than 700 receiving yards this season. On top of that, they have a suffocating defense.
If Waskom wins, that will be a surprise. But a large Newton victory shouldn't be.