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Local Sports

Cardinals hold Grayhounds at bay

Dashing 66 yards, Newton High junior Josh Miller (34) won’t be stopped from crossing the goal line for a 
touchdown against Burlington’s Grayhounds in Friday’s NHS homecoming game at H.A. Lynn Stadium. 
Miller scored twice in the Cardinals’ 47-26 win over the visiting Grayhounds.
Dashing 66 yards, Newton High junior Josh Miller (34) won’t be stopped from crossing the goal line for a touchdown against Burlington’s Grayhounds in Friday’s NHS homecoming game at H.A. Lynn Stadium. Miller scored twice in the Cardinals’ 47-26 win over the visiting Grayhounds.

Protect This House.

Newton High’s Cardinals made good on their pledge of protecting their home field at H.A. Lynn Stadium. Trailing 6-0 to visiting Burlington’s Grayhounds Friday night, the Cardinals turned the tide quickly on two defensive plays early in the second quarter.

With an interception return for a touchdown and a fourth-down defensive stop, the Cardinals claimed the momentum to notch their fourth win in as many games this season. Newton pushed past Burlington for a 47-26 homecoming victory and finished non-district play at 4-0.

“The interception for a touchdown and the fourth-down stop were momentum changers for us. We got some mojo going as a team after that,” Newton head coach Ed Ergenbright said. “I thought we could wear on them and in the second half we just started running right at them.”

Grayson Graham intercepted a L.T. Beck pass and raced 55 yards down the sidelines. The extra-point kick by Zach Combs put the Cardinals on top, 7-6, with 11:08 left in the second period.

“It’s great to win our homecoming game,” Combs, a senior defensive back, said. “We made some adjustments on defense after their opening drive. They made some big plays for touchdowns, but our offense had taken over the game by then.”

Newton’s defense bent some, but held the Grayhounds to just 12 points in the first 31 minutes of the game. Newton had pushed out to a 34-12 lead by the middle of the third quarter.

In the second quarter, Beck was guiding the Grayhounds down the field again then the drive stalled at the Newton 42-yard line. Burlington went for a fourth-and-one, but the Cardinal defense stopped the Grayhound quarterback for a 2-yard loss which gave the ball to Newton.

Five plays later, Carson Cazett busted loose for a 26-yard TD run and Combs added the extra point. Down 14-6, Burlington moved quickly on its next possession. Beck found James McCann in the end zone on a 2-yard scoring pass but a potential tying 2-point pass failed.

Newton’s two-point lead increased to 21-14 by halftime when Josh Miller found clear sailing on the outside for a 66-yard TD run. Combs kicked the extra point.

“I just bounced it outside and ran hard,” Miller said of his long TD run. “This win is a big confidence boost for us going into our next game.”

Miller said the Cardinal offensive linemen were blocking well all night. He said he had a lot of good holes for him and the rest of the running backs to run through.

“We get into a rhythm on offense and it can be demoralizing for an opponent when we execute our running game like that,” Ergenbright said.

“Garret Sturtz is a special athlete and just sees the field so well. The game slows down for him and you just give him the ball and let him guide the offense,” Ergenbright said.

Grant Garvis led that defensive charge for the Cardinals with eight solo tackles and two assisted tackles. Combs made seven unassisted tackles and Blayden Rhone had five solo stops. Graham and Aaron Bartels had interceptions to turn away the Grayhounds.

The Cardinals’ running game, which is No. 2 in Class 4A after four games, was powered by three 100-yard plus performances. Miller finished with 168 yards on 10 carries and Sturtz gained 105 yards on 15 carries. Jaron Roush netted 100 yards on 13 rushes.

The Cardinals took complete control of the game with back-to-back touchdown drives in third quarters — a 9-yard run by quarterback Garrett Sturtz and a 26-yard pass play from Sturtz to Roush. Burlington answered with an 11-yard TD run by Taven Harris and a 2-point conversion pass from Beck to Mason Leinbach.

Miller capped Newton’s next march with a 25-yard scoring run to push the Newton lead to 40-20 after three quarters. Josh Miravalles, who had 79 yards on 13 carries, plunged over from one yard out at the 8:18 mark of the fourth quarter to seal the win for Newton.

Cazett, who had 36 yards on nine carries, sat out the second half with an injury and Miller twisted his ankle fighting to get in the end zone in the third quarter. Sturtz went 3-of-8 passing for 31 yards. Roush had one catch for 26 yards and Carson Cazett had a catch for 10 yards.

“This is the kind of game we needed,” Ergenbright said. “That’s a very good 0-4 team with a tremendous athlete for a quarterback.”

Beck had a 60-yard TD run with 5:13 left in the fourth quarter for Burlington. Beck was 9-of-16 passing for 157 yards and rushed for 63 yards on five carries. Harris ran the ball 19 times and gained 134 yards for the Grayhounds.

“We really hadn’t been tested this season but Burlington was a good test for us. We kept our composure and played hard,” Combs said. “We better know where we are now and what we need to work on as we starting district play. We’re on to the next one.”

Newton opens Class 4A District 4 play on Friday at Marshalltown.

Newton 0-21-19-7 — 47

Burlington — Beck 1 yd run (kick failed)

Newton — Graham 47 yd interception return (Combs kick)

Newton — Car. Cazett 26 yd run (Combs kick)

Burlington — McCann 2 yd pass from Beck (pass failed)

Newton — Miller 66 yd run (Combs kick)

Newton — Sturtz 9 yd run (Combs kick)

Newton — Roush 26 yd pass from Sturtz (kick failed)

Burlington — Harris 11 yd run (Leinbach pass from Beck)

Newton — Miller 25 yd run (pass failed)

Newton — Miravalles 1 yd run (Combs kick)

Burlington — Beck 60 yd run (pass failed)

Newton Burlington

21 First Downs 18

60-488 Rushes-Yds 30-230

31 Passing Yds 180

519 Total Offense 410

3–8-0 Passing 10-17-2

2-0 Fumbles/lost 2-0

7-35 Penalties/yds 8-57

1-40 Punts/Avg 3-35.3

Individual Leaders

Rushing: Newton-Miller 10-168, Sturtz 15-105, Roush 13-100, Miravelles 13-79, Car. Cazett 9-36, Cummins 3-10. Burlington-Harris 19-134, Beck 5-63, Gordon 6-33.

Passing: Newton-Sturtz 3-8-31-0,. Burlington-Beck 9-16-157-2, Leinbach 1-1-23-0.

Receiving: Newton-Roush 1-26, Car. Cazett 1-10, Miravelles 1-(1-5). Burlington-Harris 2-49, Jones 2-31, Wilson 3-44, Wisseinger 1-43, McCann 2-13.

Punting: Newton-Sturtz 1-40 (40 yd avg.). Burlington-Beck 3-106 (35.3 yd avg.)

Newton Defense

Tackles (solos/assisted): Garvis 8/2, Combs 7/0, Rhone 5/0, Graham 3/0, Romberg 3/0, Cox 2/3, Gulling 2/1, Bartels 2/0, Kuennen 2/0, Frisch 1/0, King 1/0.

Quarterback sacks (solo/assisted): None.

Fumbles (forced/recovered): None.

Interceptions: Graham 1, Bartels 1.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or

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