Not since a 49-0 victory over McCormick to open the 1948 season has Newberry High begun a season with a victory of at least 33 points.
Such was the case Friday night at Mike Ware Field as the Bulldogs’ 442 yards of total offense under the direction of three different quarterbacks as they opened the 2012 season with a 49-16 victory over Ware Shoals.
“That’s the combination you strive for,” said Newberry head coach Phil Strickland of his team’s total yardage. “Our opponents are going to get tougher as the weeks go on so we have a lot of work to do.”
The Fighting Hornets made their first trip to Newberry since the 1946 season opener.
After Newberry assistant coach Bill Harvey was presented his South Carolina Shrine Bowl blazer for the upcoming game in December, the Bulldogs lost the coin toss but took the opening kickoff at their 32.
Chad Davis led the drive off but gave way to his cousin Jack Huggins.
Huggins finished the 11 play, 68 yard drive with a handoff to T.J. Boulware, who took it up the middle from 10 yards out for the touchdown just one second inside the seven minute mark.
“He (Boulware) has good vision and runs the ball extremely well,” noted Strickland.
Jose Lozano made his varsity debut in fine style as he converted all seven of his PAT attempts.
“He has really worked hard in the off season,” said Strickland of Lozano.
Ware Shoals’ first pass of the night was intercepted by Jamal Gadsden as the senior’s 14 yard return put Newberry only 11 yards from the end zone.
Tyon Williams scored his first of four touchdowns on the evening as his run in from the 3 made the score 14-0 with 4:07 left in the opening stanza.
“Tyon runs the ball extremely well,” said Strickland. “I think our offensive line came out well and established the line of scrimmage so he could make those runs.”
Ware Shoals’ three-and-out led to Williams scoring just two plays later from 53 yards out.
At the game’s progression, fans could get the inkling that the remaining 79 seconds couldn’t be taken lightly.
They were right.
Jaquan Hicks scored his first of two touchdowns on the night with a 66 yard carry on the very first play of Ware Shoals’ next possession at the 54.7 second mark of the opening stanza.
Williams scored his second touchdown on the fourth play of the second quarter with a 34 yard run.
Ware Shoals only saw one first down the entire second quarter with their first of two straight three-and-outs giving way to Newberry having one of its most unnerving scoring drives they hope to see all year.
The Bulldogs had two fumble recoveries bookended by a roughing the passer penalty called on the Hornets.
On a second-and-12 from the Ware Shoals’ 40, Khalil Sheppard threw a 40 yard pass to Tovaris Cureton for the touchdown and the 35-10 score with 7:12 left in the opening half.
After recovering a Newberry fumble, Ware Shoals went from the Newberry 29 to the 11 in four plays, setting up a 34-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the half.
Hart’s kick split the uprights as Newberry had a 35-10 advantage at the break.
Ware Shoals’ first possession of the second half saw them going on a 6:18 drive, covering 80 yards in the process.
Being held to a three-and-out, the Hornets punted but would be rewarded with a first down after a Bulldog was penalized for roughing the kicker.
The visitors were rewarded with another first down six plays later with a facemask penalty on Newberry, which came on a 3rd-and-six.
On a 4th-and-three from the Newberry 15, Hicks scored from here as the unsuccessful PAT ended the scoring for Ware Shoals with 5:42 left in the third.
Newberry still had two touchdowns left in them as Williams scored from three yards out with 21.5 seconds left in the third and their final touchdown drive came after Ware Shoals failed to convert a 4th down.
Keeping the ball on the ground four straight plays, Huggins went to the air as his 45 yard pass to Kyon Wicker was good for the touchdown with 6:10 left in the game with the scoring ended at 49-16.
Newberry accumulated 315 yards on 43 carries with Williams garnering 197 of them on 21 carries.
Cureton caught five Bulldog passes for 82 yards.
Ware Shoals had 236 yards of total offense, including getting 174 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Hicks rushed 19 times for 150 yards.
Newberry has a game this Friday with the hosting of Clinton.
This will be Newberry’s 200th varsity home game since 1979.
Newberry holds a 118-80-1 home record since their present stadium was constructed.