Newman takes charge in final quarter to finish off East Jefferson, 38-21
NEW ORLEANS – Sometimes when you seem stuck in neutral, it just takes one big spark to get things going. That’s exactly what happened for Newman on Friday night late in the third quarter.
Greenies linebacker Liam Rowen forced a fumble on a devastating hit with 54 seconds left in the third quarter which was recovered by defensive lineman Andrew Gotseggen, giving Newman the ignition it needed to score 17 unanswered points and pull away for a 38-21 victory against East Jefferson.
The game had been even all night long with the score tied at 21 through two-and-and-half quarters at Lupin Field before Rowen’s bone crushing hit on Warriors running back Jalin Edwards. The ensuing drive for Newman resulted in a 30 yard field goal by Sam Moses.
On East Jefferson’s following possession, Newman forced a three and out. On the first play of the next drive, Greenies running back James Poche took off on 56 yard run to put Newman at East Jefferson’s 18 yard line. Poche later finished the drive with a two yard scoring run for this third touchdown of the night to give Newman a 31-21 lead.
East Jefferson quarterback Gerald Walker fumbled on the first play of the Warriors next possession, giving Newman a short field. Greenies quarterback Martin Butcher’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Murray Calhoun gave Newman the final margin with 6:16 left.
“(The two turnovers) were absolutely critical,” said Newman head coach Nelson Stewart. “Liam Rowen came up huge with a massive hit; hats off to James Poche and our offensive line for grinding out and converting an opportunity into a score.”
Poche finished the game with 164 yards to go with the three touchdowns. The fourth quarter effort spoiled an excellent rushing night from East Jefferson running back Zack Weidow, who rushed for 127 yards.
“I think we kinda ran out of gas at the end,” said East Jefferson head coach Frank Allelo. “I put my defense out there too much in the second half against a quality opponent.”
Newman marched into the red zone in both the second and early third quarters without coming away with points with interceptions ending both possessions. Stewart credited the junior Butcher for hanging tough and finishing the game strong.
“Props to him for keeping his poise after the two interceptions” said Stewart. “He stayed calm, got us another touchdown and hung in there.”
Butcher finished 11 of 20 for 131 yards with the touchdown to Calhoun and the two interceptions.
Both teams finished with 11 penalties each, mostly in the first half, which helped keep the game tight for three quarters.
Special teams played a significant role in Newman’s success. A blocked punt with 2:57 to go in the first half led to Porche’s second touchdown. Moses finished 5-for-5 on extra points and converted the field goal that put the Greenies ahead for good.
East Jefferson marched 76 yards and tied the score at 21 on running back Cornelius Beasley’s two-yard touchdown run.
Newman (3-0) plays at Berwick next Friday while East Jefferson (1-2) visits Landry Walker.
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