The Newton Eagles fell one step short of a state championship in a 41-22 loss to the Waskom Wildcats Thursday night.
Newton traveled a long journey to get to Arlington, not just in the 250 miles, but in momentum as well. The East Texas school in Corrigan-Camden's District 11 3-A Division II lost three of its first four contests of the season to Tatum (39-7), Henderson (41-32) and Orangefield (26-20).
From there, the Eagles rolled off an 11-0 record for a chance at the sport's ultimate goal.
Offenses sputtered a bit in the first period, as the two schools remained scoreless. Things changed in the second quarter with a Waskom touchdown run of 51 yards by Dillon Benton, who was sprung by good downfield blocking.
A strong Newton drive on the ground was punctuated by running back Calum Foster (117 yards rushing, two total TDs) for eight yards. Newton completed a pass from Roney Elam to Tanner Holmes in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion and an 8-7 lead.
Waskom's Chan Amie took the next kickoff 88-yards down the sideline for a touchdown. A failed attempt kept the score at 13-8, Wildcats. They weren't finished there, however, scoring once again with quarterback Chase Carter to make it 20-8 just 40 seconds before the halftime gun.
Only one pass was thrown in the half other than the two-point conversion. The pass was from a Newton halfback and incomplete on fourth down to turn the ball over.
After taking the second half kickoff, Waskom marched 85 yards and ending on another Amie touchdown run, this time from five yards out.
With just over a minute left in the third, Amie, the game's most valuable player, made yet another play. At the Newton two, the junior stripped the ball, where Keileon Johnson snatched it and fell into the end zone for a 34-8 advantage. The versatile Amie also ended the game with 23 tackles.
Newton did not quit. With over six minutes in the game, Gabe Foster scored on a tough eight-yard run breaking three tackles on his way to the end zone. Down 34-15, the Eagles tried an onside kick, which was not successful.
With no need to hurry, Waskom bled the clock from 6:01 to 2:13, scoring again on a one-yard run from Junebug Johnson.
In the game's last minutes, Elam threw a 43-yard screen pass to Gabe Foster to give Newton a final score on the season.