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Newton Eagles deliver shutout against Bulldogs

Fre’Darion Johnson (4) tries to evade a tackle by J.D. Spikes (15) of Newton as teammate LaDarius Hamilton blocks on the play. Newton, 3-0 in district, defeated the Bulldogs 41-0. ( Staff photos by Alyssa Chilton)Fre’Darion Johnson (4) tries to evade a tackle by J.D. Spikes (15) of Newton as teammate LaDarius Hamilton blocks on the play. Newton, 3-0 in district, defeated the Bulldogs 41-0. ( Staff photos by Alyssa Chilton)

BY LINDA JACOBS
Enterprise staff
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NEWTON—The league- leading Newton Eagles kept their undefeated District 11-3A record intact (3-0) by producing a 41-0 shutout against the Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs Friday at Singletary Stadium.

The Eagles are the only undefeated team in league play after Garrison (5-3, 2-1)å fell to Crockett 29-21 in action Friday.

The Bulldogs of Coach Seven Armstrong (4-4, 1-2) must win their final two games if they are to secure the third playoff spot in the post-season.

"We've put ourselves in a hole and we've got to dig ourselves out of it," said Armstrong. "We're going to do that by going back to work on Monday.

"We're in a situation right now that next week (versus Deweyville) is a must win for us, and really and truly, we need to win the next two. That's what we just talked about."

The Bulldogs conclude the regular season on the road in Garrison.

Friday was a rough night for the Bulldogs, as Newton celebrated homecoming with a dominating performance.

Corrigan did not pick up a first down until the second half and finished with just four for the game...two rushing and two via penalties.

"There's no sense beating around the bush, we've got to get better. We did a poor job of blocking up front tonight and that's on me," said Armstrong. "That's my guys and we've got to get better. We've got to get our face on people and move people. We just didn't get it done tonight."

The offense was held to their lowest production of the year, finishing with just 63 yards rushing on 32 carries and zero in the passing game. LaKendrick Moore was the top rusher with 37 yards on 12 carries, followed by Nathan Cooper with 12 yards on six totes.

"They've got a pretty good defensive front," Armstrong said. "They have some big, strong kids in there, without a doubt. We just wasn't able to move them, but we got out-quick also and you can't get out-strength and out-quick, you've got to win one of those battles. We've got some young kids in there that haven't quite figured it out yet."

Opening series
Corrigan won the opening coin toss and elected to put their defense on the field first. The unit started strong and stopped the Eagles in three plays, forcing them to punt on fourth and 15 from their own 28-yard line.

Unfortunately, the offensive unit never got on track and the wheels came off quickly, as the first of three fumbles occurred on the first series.

"We played great defense right off the bat, but on the flip side of that is, we can't just play defense, we've got to come back over on the offensive side of the ball and do what we do.

"It seems like we're in a rut right now where we've been playing decent offensively at times, and not playing very good defense. Tonight we started out playing great defense and we were rotten on offense."

The Bulldog offense was forced to punt three times in the first half. The only drive inside Eagle territory occurred when Fre'Darion Johnson stripped the football for a recovery at the Newton 32-yard line.

The offensive woes continued, however, when the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs after picking up just four yards in four plays.

A trio of runners powered Newton's offensive attack that accumulated 345 yards on 53 carries.

Getting the bulk of the yardage was senior Jaron Hanks, who finished with a game-high 187 yards on 19 carries. Hanks scored twice in the first half on runs of one and 22 yards.

Teammates Matthew Sharp (11 carries, 73 yards) and Brodrick Spikes (eight carries, 42 yards) both scored a touchdown in the first half as the Eagles took a 28-0 lead at the break.

Second half
The Bulldog offense continued to struggle in the second half as their first two series ended with punts from their own 44 and 32-yard lines.

Newton scored on their opening drive of the second half when they quickly marched 78 yards in four plays. Quarterback Brock Barbay tossed a 49-yard pass to D.J. Seastrunk and Hanks had a 21-yard carry on the drive. Spikes scored on a six yard carry and Tanner Holmes booted the extra point for a 35-0 advantage with 8:23 left in the third.

Corrigan had their best opportunity to score in the half when Brandin Dirden recovered a fumble at the Eagle 16-yard line. A 12-yard carry by LaKendrick Moore had the 'Dogs first and goal at the four, but two plays later the Eagles recovered the Bulldogs' second fumble of the game at the eight-yard line.

"Our whole philosophy is we've got to take care of our football and we've got to get theirs away from them, that's how we got to live, and we're not taking care of it right now," said Armstrong.
The turnover would lead to another lightning quick score by the Eagles who took the miscue 92 yards in four plays. The big play of the drive was a 74-yard run by Hanks who was caught from behind at the 11-yard line by Dirden.

Two plays later, Hanks scored the Eagles' final touchdown on a two-yard run with 2:03 left in the third.

The Bulldogs started what would be their final drive of the game with 2:01 left in the third from their own 34-yard line. They made strides behind a 20-yard run by Moore and a 15-yard pass interference call against Newton. Corrigan advanced the ball down to the Eagle 13, but would cough it up for the third time.

Newton would take over at the nine-yard line and maintain possession for the final 10:56 left in the game, picking up five first downs along the way.

The Bulldogs will host Deweyville in their final home game next week.