NEWTON — Don’t count Newton Senior High’s Cardinals out one game into Class 3A, District 4 play. There are five more district games to be played to determine 2013 playoff status.
“Yes, getting this first district game would have been nice. We’re going to move forward. We’ve got a lot to play for, and this team can get better. We will get better each week,” said Ed Ergenbright, Cardinal head coach, following Newton’s 41-20 homecoming loss to Boone Friday.
Boone’s Toreadors scored on big plays throughout the contest, except the final touchdown of the night. They were led by senior quarterback Alex Davis, who scored two second-half touchdowns on the ground and passed for one in the first half.
But it was what he did defensively early in the game that turned the tide. The Toreadors had hit for a 45-yard touchdown run by Kane Springis on their first possession of the of the game.
Newton was answering back. The Cardinal offense, under the leadership of junior quarterback Tyler Wood, was moving down the field on its opening possession. On a fourth-and-five play, Wood connected with Tristan Peters for six yards.
J.T. Thongvahn gained seven years and Joseph Banfield had a tough run to the Boone six-yard line. Wood attempted a pass to Nick Easley that came up short, and Davis intercepted the football at the goal line. Davis returned it 17 yards for Boone.
“The play was there for us. I’d put Nick (Easley) up against any defensive back anytime but it was the underneath guy who intercepted the ball. They made a good play on it,” Ergenbright said. “That turned the tide quick, plus our inability to stop them offensively.”
Boone moved down the field for a second touchdown. Jaymen Tedrow dashed the final 23 yards for the score with 2:42 on the first-quarter clock.
“They are very physical up front. They stay on you. We couldn’t get off their blocks to make a play on the ball carriers, It’s a tough offense to defend. They are a physical team on both sides of the ball,” Ergenbright said.
Easley had a 26-yard catch for the Cardinals on their next drive. But Newton stalled and the ball went back to Boone.
Boone struck quickly with a 65-yard pass play from Davis to Nathan Pohl at the 9:58 mark of the second quarter. The Toreadors led 20-0.
Newton wasn’t ready to fold. A couple of pass plays to Easley for 10 yards and Jake Smith for 23 yards moved the Cardinals into scoring position again. This time they hit paydirt.
Banfield bulled ahead for four yards to the Boone four-yard line. Then came the “won’t-be-denied” run by Peters, who broke two tackles and drug a defender with him as he plunged over the goal line with 5:15 on the clock. Grant Davidson kicked the extra point.
Davis, who rushed for 194 yards on 15 carries, and Tedrow, who had 116 yards on nine carries, powered Boone right back down the field. Tedrow broke off a 37-yard touchdown run with 1:39 remaining in the first half. Boone carried a 27-7 lead into halftime.
Newton produced one first down on the opening drive of the third quarter, then punted. It took just two plays for Boone to score — the 84-yard run to the end zone by Davis. The Cardinals appeared to respond on a 66-yard run by Deonne Harris. A block-in-the-back penalty nullified the scoring run by Harris.
The Cardinal defense stiffened, and the Toreadors had three straight penalties, including one on the Davis punt. Newton made Boone re-punt. It was a short punt that rolled backwards setting the Cardinals up at the Boone 30-yard line at the 2:51 mark.
Easley snared a nine-yard pass from Wood followed by a seven-yard run by Harris. Wood pushed ahead for three more yards. Wood threw to Easley in the end zone, creating a pass interference penalty on the Boone defender, which put the ball at the five-yard line.
Harris took the pitch to the right side and ran down the sideline for the five-yard touchdown. Davidson’s extra-point kick made it 34-14 with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
Newton’s defense stopped the Boone rushing express to give the ball back to its offense at the 10:10 mark of the fourth quarter. Harris ran for 10 yards and Peters added an 11-yard run. Facing a second-and-15, Wood scrambled out of trouble in the backfield and broke containment.
Wood was caught by Boone one yard shy of the goal line. Wood finished it off with a two-yard touchdown run three plays later. Newton’s two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving it 34-20 with just under seven minutes to play.
Newton attempted an onside kick, taken by a Boone player, who came close to breaking it for a touchdown. The Toreadors had the football at the Newton 35. It took them seven plays to score, when Davis bulled his way to the end zone from four yards out.
“ I can’t fault our guys’ effort. If I could do a couple things different than we did, I would, like the pass play at the goal line. That’s football,”Ergenbright said. “Down that far, they could have folded, but didn’t. The fight our kids showed was so encouraging. We have to limit the big plays by opponents and cut down our penalties. We had a touchdown called back because of a penalty tonight.”
Harris led the Cardinals with 46 yards on nine carries and Wood added 38 yards on 15 carries. Wood was 11-of-16 passing for 126 yards. Easley caught seven passes for 97 yards and Peters made three catches for 21 yards.
Newton’s senior linebackers Will Brock and Nick Glotfelty led the defense. Brock recorded eight solo tackles and three assisted tackles. Glotfelty had three solo stops and three assisted tackles. Senior strong safety Levi Michener made four solo takcles and on assisted tackle.
Ryan Thompson punted four times for 179 yards, which is almost a 45-yard average.
“Now, our focus is to get better this week, getting ready for South Tama,” Ergenbright said.
Boone — Springis 45 yd run (kick failed)
Boone — Tedrow 23 yd run (Stotts kick)
Boone — Pohl 65 yd pass from Davis (Stotts kick)
Newton — Peters 4 yd run (Davidson kick)
Boone — Tedrow 37 yd run (Stotts kick)
Boone — Davis 84 yd run (Stotts kick)
Newton — Harris 5 yd run (Davidson kick)
Newton — Wood 2 yd run (run failed)
Boone — Davis 4 yd run (Stotts kick)
16 First Downs 18
39-125 Rushes-yds 40-410
145 Passing yds 100
270 Total Offense 510
12-17-1 Passing 4-7-0
4-45 Punts/Avg. 2-22
0/0 Fumbles/Lost 0/0
4-25 Penalties/yds 11-74
Rushing: Newton-Harris 9-46, Wood 15-38, Thongvanh 6-6, Peters 3-16, Banfield 4-23, Schroder 1-0. Boone-Davis 15-194, Springis 5-53, Tedrow 9-116, Morain 5-29, House 4-29.
Passing: Newton-Wood 11-16-126-1, Harris 1-1-19-0. Boone-Davis 4-7-101-0.
Receiving: Easley 7-97, Smith 1-23, Peters 3-21, Harris 1-4. Boone-Pohl 1-65, Clemons 1-9, Sunstrom 2-27.
Punting: Newton-Thompson 4-179 yds (44.8-yd avg.). Boone-Davis 2-39 yds (19.5-yd avg.).
Tackles (solos/assisted): Brock 8/3; Michener 4/1; Glotfelty 3/3; Allen 2/2; Banfield 0/2; Fisher 2/1; Hansen 1/2; McCormick 1/0; Schroder 1/0; Thompson 0/2; Thongvanh 1/0; Travis 2/2; Weatherly 1/1.
Fumble recoveries: none