NEWBERRY — For the first time in its school’s football history, Newberry High School has had consecutive years of scoring at least 40 points in its opening round playoff game as the Bulldogs scored the first 21 points Friday night at Mike Ware Field in their 42-13 victory over Indian Land.
Palmetto High was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year to Newberry, 41-21.
After the Warriors won the coin toss, the odds were already in Newberry’s favor as they went into the game 3-and-1 when the opponent won the toss of the coin. Their lone loss was to Clinton.
Each one of Jose Lozano’s seven kickoffs landed inside the seven-yard line, including two touch-backs, as Indian Land started off at its 20 after the return.
They would gain one yard before being forced to punt.
Not since the Saluda game in week six has Shrine Bowl selected player Eric Gallman started the game off for Newberry with their first carry, but he did just that in fine form with a 19-yard carry, putting the Bulldogs at the Warrior 36.
Three plays later, Tysheen Nance scored his first of three touchdowns on the evening with a 21-yard run with 8:59 left in the opening quarter.
Along with kickoffs averaging over 56 yards a time, Lozano also excelled in the PAT category as the snap from Perry Able to the hold of Clayton Yoder to the leg of Lozano went six-for-six for the evening.
Dominique Quiller intercepted the Dalton McGuirt pass one play later.
Keeping the ball on the ground for the eighth straight play of the evening, Nance scored from 16 yards out with still 6:49 left in the first quarter.
Both teams traded punts before Malik Glymph made his team-leading third fumble recovery of the season just 30 yards from a potential Newberry touchdown.
It would take all of nine seconds to get that “potential” touchdown with Khalil Sheppard hooking up with Jalin Alexander for the 30-yard pass reception and the 21-0 score with 87 seconds left in the first quarter.
“We did get off to a good start,” noted Newberry head coach Phil Strickland of the 21-0 early advantage. We didn’t do well in warm-ups but the players buckled down though when it was time to.”
Indian Land kept the ball offensively for the next 7:09 but their 50-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Newberry would not be able to capitalize on this turnover as they would fumble over to the Warriors three plays later.
McGuirt scored on the quarterback keeper two plays later from 11 yards out with 4:58 left until the break. The PAT was no good.
After a holding penalty moved Newberry back to its 25 on their last offensive possession of the first half, four carries between Nance and Cohanskie Goodson put the Bulldogs at the Indian Land 31.
On a second-and-13, Sheppard and Alexander hooked up again for the touchdown for the 21-0 lead with 2:58 left until the half.
Indian Land’s 45-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half was blocked by Jamal Gadsden.
Newberry had 201 yards of first half offense while Indian land had 129.
Alexander returned the second half opening kickoff 77 yards to the Indian Land 20 as only the Warrior kicker stood between Alexander and the goal line.
For the tenth time this season, including six straight games, Newberry scored on its first offensive possession of the second half with Nance taking it in on the very first play for the 28-6 score just 21 seconds into the second half.
“I think it’s a tribute to our scouting team in preparing us and getting us ready,” noted Strickland of his team’s successes in starting the second half. “Also, our coaches come up with a good game plan and doing the things we need to do.”
Holding Indian Land to a one yard three-and-out, Newberry started at its 34 on their second offensive possession of the second half.
Goodson rumbled 18 yards for the first down into Warrior territory.
The next play saw only a two yard gain by Jaylen Caldwell, but a personal foul on a face mask infraction put Newberry at the 31 and a fresh set of downs.
Goodson scored from three yards out five plays later for the 42-6 score at the 5:35 mark of the third stanza.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Indian Land ended an over six minute, 11-play, 80-yard drive with Austin Gordon scoring from eight yards out. The PAT was good
Newberry played three other quarterbacks beside Sheppard in the second half including Chad Davis, Yafari Werts and Jack Huggins.
Indian Land ended the evening with 225 yards of offense while Newberry accumulated 273.
Aside from three touchdowns, Nance had 101 yards on nine carries.
Goodson ran the ball seven times for 39 yards while Omar Sims garnered 27 yards on two carries.
Gallman and Tyon Williams had lone carries apiece with 19 and 12 yards, respectively.
Chris Wadsworth saw his first two varsity carries accumulate 11 yards while Jaylen Caldwell finished with seven yards on two carries.
Sheppard had a single carry for three yards, Devin Marshall lost four yards on five carries while Newberry’s 212 yards in the rushing department ended with the two knees from Huggins to end the game.
Alexander caught both passes for a total of 61 yards.
The Bulldogs, who improve to 8-3 on the season, are currently on a four-game winning streak as Newberry was the final team with the ball in each of these ballgames.
Newberry will travel to Bolden Stadium in Columbia on Friday to go up against the Columba High Capitals (4-6) in second round playoff action.
The last time these two teams met was for the 2006 AA upper-state championship with the Bulldogs winning 27-0.
Fans attending the game are reminded to allow extra time for security checks upon entering the stadium.