Tigers fall to RebelsBy BRENT MAZE,
Newton faced its biggest challenge of the season on Friday when the Tigers took on the Scott Central Rebels at E.L. Morgan Field.
In the matchup of unbeaten teams, the size of the Rebels’ offensive and defensive line proved to be the difference in a 35-12 homecoming loss for Newton.
The Tigers had their worst offensive output of the season, gaining 272 yards compared to the Rebels’ 359, including 195 on the ground on 42 rushing attempts.
“It starts up front and ends up front. We didn’t block them,” Newton coach Ryan Smith said. “It seemed like every time we would catch a break or something good would happen, it was negated.”
During one sequence, late in the second quarter with the Tigers trailing 9-6, it appeared like Zackariah Johnson had returned a Scott Central fumble for a touchdown, but after a lengthy conference, the referees ruled that the whistle was blown when an official thought the Scott Central runner was down.
“No one heard this whistle but one official,” Smith said. “For him to negate the whole thing, that’s a 16-point swing. Plus, we’re inside the 15 and then we’re going to score. But they get the ball back and end up scoring.”
Then a couple of plays later after Newton had held on third down, Scott Central converted a fake punt on kicker Irvin Hernandez’s 31-yard pass to Ken Patrick. The referees threw a flag for an ineligible man downfield, but the head referee waved off the flag.
waved off the flag.
“My frustration with that is that they talked with the coach before the game about that before the game, which is fine, but you shouldn’t have thrown the flag,” Smith said. “At that point, my kids psychologically are on a roller coaster. They think now we’ve got it, but now they don’t.”
Then on fourth-and-2, quarterback T.J. Wash scrambled 32 yards for a touchdown, giving Scott Central a 15-6 lead at halftime.
The Rebels then converted again on a money down to open the second half, this time Wash connected with Curtis Jones on a 37-yard touchdown pass at the 9:47 mark of the second half. The extra point gave Scott Central a commanding 22-6 lead.
The Rebels put the game out of reach with a 30-yard punt return for a touchdown by Patrick with 9:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Tre Hillie connected with Zackariah Johnson on a 44-yard touchdown with 6:20 left in the game to cut the lead to 28-12, but Wash connected with Jones on a 53-yard touchdown pass with 3:06 to play, ending any chance of a comeback.
Scott Central opened the game with a drive that ended on the Newton 1-yard line after Navonteque Strong was stopped short of the goal line by the Tiger defense.
However, the Tigers gave it right back on a fumble recovered by D.J. Black. Wash gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead on a quarterback sneak moments later.
Jordan Strong intercepted a Newton pass to set up Hernandez’s 37-yard field goal. Newton’s Jacquain Roberts had a sack to force the field goal try.
The Tigers overcame four penalties on the next drive to get on the board. Zachary Johnson took the wide-receiver sweep handoff and threw to brother Zackariah for a 15-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
A disastrous Scott Central punt gave Newton the ball at the Scott Central 20-yard line. Hillie found Alex Hamilton for a 12-yard gain to the 8, but that’s as close as Newton could get as the Tigers turned the ball over on downs.
But the bad breaks at the end of the first half combined with the quick score in the third quarter allowed Scott Central to pull away for the dominating win.
Roberts led the Tigers with 12 tackles while Roberts had 12 tackles.
Hillie finished 10-for-20 with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 98 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Zackariah Johnson had three catches for 59 yards while Sirvares Snow had three catches on 24 yards.