WARE SHOALS — Newberry High School dominated Ware Shoals on Friday night for a 28-0 win after opening the season for only the second time in its 89-year football history — the first since 1926 — in Greenwood County.
The last time the Bulldogs had a shut-out win on the road to start a season was 1951. The Bulldogs scored all 28 points in the first half Friday night. They have now started three straight seasons with a victory.
Sophomore Yafari Werts got the nod as the starting QB and the Bulldogs needed only six plays to cover 63 yards for the first touchdown on the opening drive of the 2013 season.
The biggest play of the drive came on a second-and-five from their own 37 when Werts scampered 36 yards on a keeper for the first down at the Hornets’ 27. Omar Sims scored three plays later from 16 yards out.
Jose Lozano was perfect on his first of four point after kicks on the night with 8:34 left in the opening stanza.
Ware Shoals got down to the Newberry 46 yard line before being forced to punt on its first possession of the game. The punt was downed at the Newberry one.
Lozano got a little breathing room to punt from the 18-yard line when his 48-yard kick was aided by about 20 yards of rolling, much to the chagrin of the home fans who were all but right on top of the play.
The Hornets were held to a three-and-out and punted with 53.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
An incomplete pass and a five-yard penalty set up a second-and-62 for the Bulldogs from their 38 with mere seconds left on the clock.
Instead, Sims broke several tackles on a touchdown run along his left side for his second and last touchdown of the evening as the first quarter buzzer was sounding for the 14-0 score.
The third play of Ware Shoals’ first possession in the second quarter proved just that.
Both a Bulldog and a Hornet were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike activity. After Newberry’s yardage had been marked off, Ware Shoals was awarded a first down, moving the markers.
But Ware Shoals was then charged 15 yards on a penalty, putting the ball back at the original line of scrimmage. The Hornets were facing a first-and-30 from their 26. The officials got into a lengthy discussion before blowing the ball into play.
Khalil Sheppard intercepted a Hornet pass six plays later, returning it 15 yards to his 34 with 7:19 left in the first half.
After two straight running plays by Sims, Werts connected on a 43-yard pass to Jaylen Caldwell for the touchdown and the 21-0 score with 6:23 before the break.
Quaheim Glasgow recovered a Ware Shoals fumble just three yards from the end zone as Newberry was still maintaining a shut-out with 3:13 on the clock.
Werts went to the air on a third-and-10 from the three for a 72-yard completion to Zy Towns. Tysheen Nance ended the night’s scoring three plays later with a 23-yard run with 45.5 seconds left in the first half.
A Bulldog and a Hornet avoided injury on a play prior to the TD run when they both bumped into an ATV-like vehicle being used to pull band equipment to the field for Ware Shoals. The vehicle was several feet out on the field when the dust-up occurred.
Newberry had 325 yards of first half offense, including 224 on the ground. Ware Shoals got 82 yards of its 128 first half yards on the ground.
The first three of Ware Shoals’ five second half possessions ended in a team turnover including throwing an interception to Nance, fumbling to Zycorrian Dewalt and Dominic Gilmore sacking the quarterback on a fourth down.
Sims got 125 yards rushing on nine carries to lead all rushers on the night. Werts completed three of nine passes for 120 yards. Caldwell, Towns and Lindsay each caught one pass for 43, 72 and five yards respectively.
Also rushing the ball for Newberry were Werts (8-for-60), Nance (4-for-33), Chris Wadsworth (3-for-15), Devin Marshall (5-for-28), Xay Sims-Boyd (2-for-21), K.J. Fields (2-for-8) and Sheppard ending the game with a knee for a one-yard loss.
Newberry travels to Clinton on Friday to meet the Red Devils for the 74th time since 1921.