Replay: Newman pulls away for 37-21 win at Country Day

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METAIRIE – It was a game of wild swings throughout the first half, but unbeaten Newman settled into the game and steadily pulled away to a 37-21 win at Country Day on Saturday afternoon.

The District 12-2 opener for both teams was aired live on Crescent City Sports. Newman slowly opened up a game that was firmly in the balance at halftime.

Running back James Poche’ ran for three touchdowns including two in the second half to help Newman grind out a win against a battle tested Cajuns squad. The Greenies defense also closed the game on a strong note. The lone Cajuns points in the second half came on a pick six in the final minute.

“I think the difference is our strength and conditioning,” said Newman head coach Nelson Stewart. “We preached all week to stay within the run game and pound it between the tackles. We didn’t get tired and we stuck with the process. I’m awful proud and we worked hard for this victory against a very good Country Day team.”

The Greenies raced out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Martin Butcher connected with Dylon Hill on the first deep pass of the game, a 48-yard strike. That broke the string of solid early defense by both sides, which included forced turnovers on back-to-back plays.

Newman (6-0) came up with a blocked punt on special teams and an ensuing personal foul set them up in the red zone. Poche’ took a hand-off and cut outside for his 15th rushing touchdown of the season as he leaped across the goal line.

“It was a team win,” said Stewart. “We don’t want to have one guy. We want to have multiple threats on offense. We love all four wide receivers, our running backs and we have a great trigger man. We just want to be a balanced offense.”

The Cajuns’ offense came back with a drive of their own that substantially factored Buckner Heebe who had two gains of over 15 yards. Country Day’s first score came through the air when Justin Ibieta hit Clinton Nicholas for a 10-yard touchdown. The extra point failed as a low kick was easily blocked by the Newman line.

Country Day’s special teams got them the ball back right away. A pooch kick by Price Petagna bounced freely and was recovered by the Cajuns at the Newman 32. After two plays went nowhere, Petagna caught a pass in the flat and took it the distance for a 31-yard score. The Cajuns faked the extra point and converted the two-point try to tie it up at 14-14 with just over four minutes left in the first half.

Newman took the lead into the halftime locker room thanks to Jarmone Southerland. The sophomore wide receiver caught two passes on the drive including a 37-yard touchdown where he shook a tackler in space and took it the distance. The extra point was hooked to the left. Country Day had a chance to respond before halftime, but Ibieta fumbled in the red zone one play after the Cajuns converted a 4th and 6 at the Newman 30.

Country Day (3-3) will host Fisher next Friday while Newman will put their unbeaten record on the line against Riverside.

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