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Hornets eliminate Newton; host Wesson Cobras Friday

NEWTON – The Newton Tigers fumbled their way out of the thirdround of the Class 2A state playoffs after losing to Loyd Star20-6, here Friday night at E.L. Morgan Field. The Hornets battledto a scoreless halftime deadlock before coming to life.

“Loyd Star protected the ball, and we did not,” said Newton headcoach Brad Peterson. “When you get to this level of play, you can’tfumble the ball; especially against a team like Loyd Star. They arethe best coached team we’ve played all year.”

Loyd Star head coach Anthony Hart said he knew it was going tobe a tough fight for his Hornets. “We knew it was going to be hard.Newton has a great team, and they gave us some opportunities early,but we could not take advantage.

All in all, I’m proud of my boys.”

Newton fumbled on its first possession and the Hornets went towork on their own 21-yard line. However, two plays later JustinGibbs came away with a loose ball to give Newton hope once again inthe first quarter. Newton was forced to punt and Loyd Star wasunable to mount an offensive campaign.

The Tigers got the ball once more in the first quarter, butMatthew Bearden snapped the ball over the head of LaderrianBlaylock, and Loyd Star recovered its second fumble of thenight.

In the middle of the second quarter, Loyd Star’s Cody Covingtonrecovered a loose ball on the Newton 14 yard line. After threeattempts at the end zone, Loyd Star attempted a 24 yard field goal,that was blocked by Newton’s Nicholas Robinson.

Going to work from its own 14-yard line, Newton started a sixplay drive, but the seventh play of the drive proved to be costly.Blaylock’s pass was picked off by Demacus Barnes, and returned 30yards to the Newton 23 yard line.

With less than 1:00 left in the first half, Newton’s defensearose to the challenge of keeping the Hornets scoreless.

Loyd Star quarterback Cass Brister hit Adam Speeg in thebackfield on a swing pass. As he turned up field Torrance Blaylockmade a touchdown saving tackle to expire the clock.

The halftime score stood 0-0.

In the third period, Newton put a seven play drive together withMarquis Poole scoring from the 1-yard line. Zack Logan added thePAT, and the Tigers took a 7-0 lead.

Logan’s kickoff was returned 25 yards to set up the first ofthree touchdowns for the Hornets. Loyd Star moved the ball from itsown 46 yard line in only three plays to knot the score.

Speeg dashed in from 1 yard to make the score 7-6 Newton. JodyBritt added the PAT to make the score 7-7.

The next Hornet score came with 10:16 left in third quarter.Speeg bounced eight yards for a touchdown, taking the lead at 13-7.Britt was true, and the Hornets led 14-7.

Newton got one more chance to score, late in the fourth quarter,but a fumble spoiled the plan.

Loyd Star recovered the fumble and, three plays later, DerrickJohnson scampered 44 yards for the final touchdown. The PAT failed,and the score stood 20-7.

The 10-2 Hornets will advance to play Wesson Friday night atLoyd Star. After the suffering the lose, Newton finished its season9-3.

“I want to thank God for the opportunity to play football,” Hartsaid. “The assistant coaches did a good job this week. Defensively,we played one of our better games. In the third and fourth quarterwe dominated the line of scrimmage. We were patient like we weresupposed to be.”

Loyd Star collected 12 first downs and totaled 261 yards onoffense. The Hornets rushed the football 38 times for 225yards.

Top rusher for Loyd Star was Johnson with 24 rushes for 169yards. Speeg carried eight times for 46 yards.

Quarterback Cass Brister sparked the Hornets completing 3 of 5passes for 36 yards. Catching two passes for 21 yards was LoganPortrey followed by Demarcus Barnes with one catch for 15yards.

Loyd Star’s defense got 16 tackles and a fumblerecovery from inside linebacker Matthew Delaughter. Cody Covingtonmade 13 stops and recovered a pair of fumbles. Making 11 tacklesand recovering a fumble was Beau Morrison. Barnes intercepted apass.