NEWBERRY, SC – Newberry scored four times on plays of 45 yards or longer, and the Wildcats committed four turnovers as Newberry defeated the Wildcats 42-21 on Friday night.
Newberry wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as they took the opening kickoff and scored just three plays later. Tyon Williams dashed 45 yards on the third play from scrimmage to give the Bulldogs the lead just 58 seconds into the contest. Jose Lazano’s extra point made the score 7-0.
The Wildcats were able to move the ball on their first possession, but an interception in Bulldog territory stopped the drive. Newberry would return the favor with a turnover of their own on the second play after the interception to give the Wildcats the ball at their own 39 yard line. After a two yard run by Ja’Quon Louden, Hunter Watson found Joseph Chaney on a deep out, and Chaney broke a tackle and raced up the visitor’s sideline for a 59 yard score. Grant Dickey added the extra point for a 7-7 tie.
The Bulldogs needed just two plays to retake the lead. Williams again did the damage for the Bulldogs. Williams took the handoff and used an official to shield off a would-be tackler, and he sprinted 53 yards for the score. Lazano’s PAT gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
Turnovers would play a big part in keeping the score at 14-7 as Ninety Six had a fumble, and Newberry suffered an interception and two fumbles to keep both teams off the scoreboard.
Newberry would turn another big play to get their offense going late in the half. Jalin Alexander caught a 35 yard pass by out jumping two Wildcat defenders to give the Bulldogs the ball at the Ninety Six 25. Two plays later Chad Davis found Tovaris Cureton for an 18 yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 21-7 after Lazano’s extra point.
The Wildcats attempted to get back into the game before halftime as they rode the arm of Watson deep into Bulldog territory. Two complete passes and a pass interference call gave the Wildcats the ball inside the Bulldog 30 yard line. The momentum would swing back to the Bulldogs side of the field as Cureton stepped in front of a Watson pass and raced 80 yards for a defensive touchdown to give Newberry a commanding 28-7 lead with 59 seconds remaining in the half.
The second half started off ominously for the Wildcats as they were unable to gain a first down before having to punt the ball to the Bulldogs. Newberry went on a six play 52 yard drive that ended with Eric Gallman rumbling 12 yards for the score. Lazano added the extra point to increase the Bulldog advantage to 35-7.
The Wildcats got a big play of their own on their next possession as Louden broke free and then out ran the Bulldog defense for a 65 yard scoring run on the first play from scrimmage after the kickoff. Dickey added the extra point to cut the lead to 35-14.
The Wildcat defense forced another turnover as Bradley Weaghington picked off a Jack Huggins pass and returned it near mid-field. The Wildcats would convert the turnover into points as Watson scored on a quarterback sneak. Dickey’s PAT cut the lead to 35-21
After Newberry recovered the ensuing onsides kick, they were able to seal the game with a 47 yard scoring strike from Huggins to Alexander to end any Wildcat rally.
The Wildcats (2-6, 1-2) were led on the ground by Ja’Quon Louden’s 80 yards on just 8 carries. Hunter Watson was 11 for 18 through the air for 147 yards. Joseph Chaney hauled in two of the passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats will travel to Saluda next Friday for a 7:30 showdown with the Tigers.