PREVIEW: Newton Seeks Second Straight Title Against Canadian
CLASS 3A DIVISION II
No. 1 Newton Eagles (14-0)
Canadian Wildcats (14-1)
3 p.m. Thursday
AT&T Stadium, Arlington
- Newton: W.T. Johnston
- Canadian: Chris Koetting
- Newton: def. East Bernard, 21-14
- Canadian: def. Gunter, 17-7
Players to watch
- RB Darwin Barlow, Sr., 5-11, 200 (181 carries, 2,260 yards, 41 TDs; 16 catches, 326 yards, 3 TDs; committed to TCU)
- DE James Sylvester, Jr., 6-5, 240 (93 tackles, 26 for loss, 8 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 3 recoveries, 1 blocked punt)
- QB/DB Josh Foster, Sr., 6-2, 190 (79-of-138, 1,541 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs; 76 carries, 676 yards, 14 TDs; 58 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery; committed to TCU)
- OL Caiden Walker, Sr., 6-4, 300
- LB Jadrian McGraw, Sr., 6-0, 210 (180 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 fumble recoveries)
- DE Christian Kellum, Sr., 5-10, 160 (71 tackles, 17 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
- DT Kristian Paulette, Sr., 5-10, 190 (109 tackles, 11 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 4 recoveries, 4 blocked punts)
- QB Casen Cavalier, Sr., 5-11, 200 (234-of-362, 3,367 yards, 41 TDs, 12 INTs; 176 carries, 937 yards, 15 TDs)
- RB/LB Hayze Hufstedler, Soph., 5-10 (127 carries, 983 yards, 12 TDs; 18 catches, 191 yards, 1 TD; 92 tackles, 18 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 QB hurries)
- WR/DB Garrison McCook, Sr., 6-0, 175 (75 catches, 1,194 yards, 19 TDs; 68 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 INTs, 9 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
- WR/LB Trent Evans, Sr., 5-9, 170 (43 catches, 761 yards, 9 TDs; 21 tackles, 2 for loss)
- FS Jack Koetting, Jr., 6-0, 155 (182 tackles, 14 for loss, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 11 PBUs, 1 blocked field goal)
- OL/DL Colton Risley, Jr., 6-0, 190 (101 tackles, 34 for loss, 4 sacks, 27 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- DL Rhet Pennington, Jr., 6-1, 205 (41 tackles, 14 for loss, 5 sacks, 8 QB hurries, 1 INT)
Just the facts
- Since at least 2004, when MaxPreps started tracking game history, Newton and Canadian have never played.
- Newton is averaging 488.9 yards per game (136.8 passing and 352.1 rushing).
- Eagle running back Darwin Barlow has 2,260 yards on just 181 carries, an averaging of 12.5 yards per carry.
- Newton has defeated its opponents by an average margin of 47.9 points per game.
- Canadian is averaging 427 yards per game (237.5 passing and 189.5 rushing).
- Wildcats quarterback Casen Cavalier has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every playoff game thus far.
- Canadian has forced 35 turnovers thus season (21 interceptions and 14 fumbles).
Key matchup: Newton ground game against the Canadian defense. The Eagles received their first test of the postseason in the state semifinals against East Bernard. Newton needed a last-second touchdown from Darwin Barlow to escape with a 21-14 victory. Barlow was held to his lowest total of the season, but still managed 113 rushing yards. It's a testament to how dominant Barlow and the rest of the Eagles' rushing game has been this year. Josh Foster can make plays on the ground from the quarterback position, and Val Fowler can reel off big plays while spelling Barlow.
The task of stopping Newton up front will likely fall to defensive linemen Colton Risley and Rhet Pennington. The two have combined for 48 tackles for loss, but will have their hands full against a Newton offensive line that has propelled the Eagles to 352.1 yards rushing per game. If Canadian can find a way to catch up to Barlow and company, it might have a chance in this state championship game.
Don't be surprised if: The Eagles come out strong. It's unlikely we'll see a repeat performance of Newton's slow start last week. Expect coach W.T. Johnston to have his team ready to score from the start and back to being the dominant team we grew accustomed to seeing in the playoffs. Barlow will be his usual self, but if Josh Foster can get the passing game established early as well, Newton will be on its way to back-to-back titles.