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Newton Explodes Late for 40-16 win

Gunter Led in 3rd But Newton Finished Stronger

AT&T Stadium - The Newton Eagles (14-0) and the Gunter Tigers (15-0) faced off with the title of Class 3A DII State Champions on the line. The game got off to a slow start offensively as both teams exchanged possessions a few times while feeling out their ability to run and pass against the other defense. Things turned toward the end of the first quarter when Gunter attempted a long pass that floated right into the waiting arms of Tamauzia Brown who returned it 48 yards to setup the Eagles in great field position at the 28. On the next play Darwin Barlow faked a reverse but kept racing around the right side and sprung free for the 28 yard score with 3:59 to go in the 1st. Newton led 7-0. Gunter responded with a series of hard-nosed running plays that covered 8 plays and 61 yards and ended with a 3 yard score by Peyton Lowe to tie it up 7 all.

Newton came out strong in the second with a drive that moved the Eagles down the field in chunks. The drive ended when Josh Foster tossed an 11 yard pass into the endzone and Noah Williams came down with it for the score and the lead. Newton 14, Gunter 7 (10:02 2Q) The Gunter response was a drive that stalled within field goal range. Evan Gonzalez knocked in the 38 yarder to cut the Newton lead to 14-10.

After the two traded punts again, Foster found William streaking down the left side with a beautiful 46 yard pass to the Gunter 14. Backed up by penalties and facing a 4th and 16, the two connected in the endzone but it was called back to the 35 yard line for offensive pass interference. Another false start call made it 4th and 36 from the 40. All that self-inflected damage was too much to overcome and they again punted. The two would go into the half Newton 14, Gunter 10.

Gunter began the third with a three and out. On their first drive of the second half, Newton fumbled the ball. It was fallen on by Adrian Martinez and Gunter was right back in business. Three plays later Barlow hit Braiden Clopton for 23 yards and a score making it 16-14 after the PAT was missed. Newton responded with an impressive 10 play 67 yard drive but failed to finish when Clopton, on defense, intercepted a Foster pass and returned it 32 yard. Gunter was unable to capitalize however and ended up punting it back to Newton.

The Eagles wasted no time jumping back into the momentum catbird seat. After a few plays, Foster again connected with Williams - this time Noah was streaking wide open and caught it in stride sprinting 66 yards untouched for the go-ahead score. The PAT was blocked and Newton led 20-16 at the start of the final quarter.

The final period was the period of destiny for this Newton team that LSG has had picked #1 since our first preseason poll, They went on to score 20 more of their 26 unanswered points in the final stanza to silence any and all critics that may have questioned the slow start to the title game. It started with a pass that LaKendrick Brown turned into a 74 yard score and that was quickly followed by Tamauzia Brown's 75 yard run. After it was already decided, Josh Foster added an 8 yard run of his own to end the game 40 - 16, Newton.

by Chris Doelle

Offensive MVP:  Noah Winters (Newton)
Defensive MVP: Corbin Foster (Newton)

Attendance: 12,636

8First Downs19
138Rushing Yds323
46Passing Yds217
184Total Yds540

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