NEWBERRY — For the fourth time in as many games this season, the Newberry High School offense racked up at least 360 total yards in Friday night’s 35-7 win over Chapin at Mike Ware Field.
Winning the coin toss for the third time this season, Newberry elected to receive the opening kickoff. Their first offensive possession ended in a fumble recovery by Chapin while quarterback Yafari Werts was intercepted just outside the red zone after Newberry held Chapin to a three-and-out.
Chapin’s second punt of the evening had a net gain of five yards after Jaylen Caldwell returned the 33-yard punt 28 yards to the Chapin 28. Four straight running plays by Omar Sims put Newberry at the 15 to end the opening stanza.
Caldwell scored two plays later with a 10-yard run. Jose Lozano’s extra point kick 37 seconds into the second quarter ended Newberry’s streak of scoring at least once in the first stanza of each game this season.
Chapin’s three offensive possessions in the second quarter ended with a punt, an interception by Zy Towns and a knee to end the first half.
Newberry punted for the first time in six quarters while Lozano went wide on his 29-yard field goal effort with 7.4 seconds left until halftime.
Newberry got 150 of its first half 252 yards of offense on the ground while Chapin ended with 70 yards, including 50 through the air.
For the second straight week a Newberry opponent scored on its first offensive possession of the second half.
The Eagles ended a 13-play, 76-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Matt Charpia to Matteo Macaluso as the score was knotted at 7-apiece after the Zack McCall PAT.
Newberry scored on each of its three second half possessions.
“We stopped ourselves all night,” said Newberry head coach Phil Strickland. “We just made too many mistakes. We finally regrouped, found a way to stop them and found a way to move the football.”
The Bulldogs kept the ball on the ground eight straight plays on their first touchdown drive which ended 55 yards later with Omar Sims’ eight-yard carry. Lozano’s kick was good for the 14-7 score with 2:35 left in the third.
If there was one play though that might have turned the tide, it was on the very first play of the drive. Caldwell was met at the line for no gain. Instead, the senior cut to his right as he avoided multiple tackles for a 19-yard gain, down to the Chapin 36.
Bookended between two Chapin three-and-outs was a five play touchdown drive by the Bulldogs.
After a holding penalty and facing a first-and-20 from the Chapin 23, Caldwell scored his second touchdown of the night from here. Lozano’s PAT gave Newberry a cushioned two score lead of 21-7 with 11:36 left in the game.
While Newberry has had longer drives this season, 81 yards, they have not had a possession that took 8:18 off the scoreboard on their final score of the night.
The Bulldogs converted two third downs as their next third down came at the 10 yard line with just over two minutes left in the game.
Werts scored on the keeper as the Bulldogs were ahead 28-7 with the Lozano kick. Chapin worked its way down to the Newberry 9 with less than 15 seconds to go. Several cheers of ‘Don’t let them score ‘Dogs’ could be heard as Chapin lined up. Under pressure, Charpia threw a pass toward the end zone.
K.J. Fields picked off the pass as the junior raced 98 yards along the home sideline for the touchdown with 2.5 seconds left in the game to end the scoring after Lozano’s PAT.
“We have a lot of young kids playing in the secondary,” said Strickland. “They are growing, getting better and learning every game.”
Chapin ended with a total of 178 yards, including 46 on the ground.
“The defense did a good job,” noted Strickland. “We had a lot of tackles (six) for losses.”
Six different Bulldogs carried the ball while three players caught at least one pass apiece.
“We seem to spread the love a little bit,” Strickland noted of his team. “The times you can spread it around, the better and more balanced you can be.”
The undefeated Bulldogs travel to Union County on Friday to face the Yellow Jackets, who are looking for their first win of the season.
“They are sitting at 0-4 but they have played some very stiff competition,” Strickland said of Union County. “We’re definitely not going to overlook them and take them lightly. We just have to keep the ball away from their offense as much as we can.”
This will be Newberry’s first trip to Union since 2003 when a rain-soaked Bulldog crowd saw Union get stopped a yard short on a two-point conversion to preserve their 14-12 victory.
Union County will mark the fourth AAA team Newberry has faced this season.