NEWBERRY — Newberry High School scored the first 21 points in its 2012 homecoming contest against Union County High Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Yellow Jackets went on a 35-7 run in the final 37:34 of the game as their 35-28 victory was the most combined (63) points scored between the two teams in their 52 meetings since 1930.
Winning the coin toss for the third straight week the Bulldogs elected to receive as they needed just 2:31 and five plays as Tyon Williams scored from four yards out for the 7-0 lead after Jose Lozano’s PAT.
Union’s first offensive play saw Cohanskie Goodson sacking quarterback Keiston Smith for a nine yard loss back to the four yard line.
Two straight incomplete passes saw Union County punting from its own end zone where Newberry would take over 41 yards another potential score.
The Bulldogs did just that with quarterback Khalil Sheppard throwing the touchdown pass to a wide open Jaylen Reeder along the home side for the 14-0 score after Lozano’s PAT with still 8:07 left in the first stanza.
Union County was held to its second straight three-and-out as Williams would surpass a career milestone on his third carry of their next possession.
With 5:11 left in the quarter, Williams carried it for 31 yards which surpassed him by the 2,000 yard plateau.
It took the senior 269 carries to get to 2015 yards after that carry.
Two plays later, T.J. Boulware scored from a yard out as Lozano’s PAT gave Newberry a 21-0 advantage with still 4:21 left in the first quarter.
Union County scored touchdowns on its next four possessions, as they kept the Newberry defense on the field for all but three minutes and 37 seconds of the next 11:02 of playing time.
After the Yellow Jackets scored its fourth touchdown, Newberry had two minutes unto the half to get any kind of positive note before halftime festivities.
Union County was penalized two straight times for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving Newberry 30 free yards in penalties.
After calling a time-out with under a minute in the half, Sheppard threw a 17-yard pass to Tovaris Cureton two plays later for the touchdown with 14.6 seconds.
Lozano’s PAT sent both teams into the locker rooms tied at 28 points apiece.
Union County had 249 yards of offense, including garnering 207 through the air for the half.
Newberry had 214 yards of offense, including 137 on the ground so far for the evening.
During homecoming festivities during the half, Madison Jeter was crowned the team sweetheart while Marlaina Smoot was named first runner-up to Leeann Purcell’s rein as the 2012 homecoming queen.
After being successful on a fake punt seven plays into the second half, Union County failed to convert a 4th-and-19 from the Newberry 34.
Newberry was forced to punt less than two minutes later while Dominique Quiller intercepted a Smith pass two yards from the Union end zone with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs punted on the fifth play of the final quarter.
Starting out at its 17, Union County ate nearly 4:30 off the clock as Smith scored on a 28-yard keeper for the touchdown with 4:40 left in the game.
Lozano and Brandon Shetley were both perfect on all of their extra point attempts.
On Newberry’s next-to-last offensive possession, Sheppard was intercepted for the third time of the evening with 3:08 left in the final stanza.
The Yellow Jackets ate all but the final 10.2 seconds off the clock.
Union County had a 471 yard evening including getting 330 through the air on 17 of 34 completions.
“They have been a great offensive football team all year,” said Newberry assistant Bill Harvey. “When we would get to their quarterback, he still made plays,” noted Harvey of Smith.
Newberry had 256 yards of offense, getting only 42 of them in the entire second half.
Williams had 133 yards rushing on 19 carries as he not sits at 869 yards through the first five games this season.
Newberry, who now has a 3-2 record, has scored 173 points this season for the second highest scoring output in the first five games this season in school history. The 2002 team scored 179 points.
Region play begins on Friday for Newberry with the hosting of Saluda.
The Tigers recovered a fumble for the winning touchdown in overtime last year as Saluda defeated Newberry for the first time at home since 2000.
The last time Saluda defeated Newberry two times straight was when the Tigers won four straight meetings between 1978 and 1990.
Newberry has not lost consecutive regional opening games since 1987-91.
“We will have our work cut out for us,” said Harvey of Saluda.
“We have to get well and take care of ourselves first though,’ Harvey stated about the Bulldogs.