Boston Newsome challenged himself over the last week, and that paid off for the Bulldogs in its 56-13 win at North Pontotoc on Friday.
The senior rushed for 171 yards against Senatobia last week, but had an uncharacteristic four fumbles. Throughout the last week he worked to fix that mistake, and he responded, finishing with 306 yards on 36 carries and five touchdowns against the Vikings.
“No one has worked harder this week than Boston,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Price said. “He takes pride in being the leader of this football team, and he came out this week and carried a football with him everywhere he’s been, and we placed challenges on the team if they could take the ball away from Boston. He’s hands down the hardest working player in our division, and for him to have the game he had tonight, I’m thrilled to death and glad we put a solid game plan together.”
Newsome’s first touchdown came with 3:14 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs were already ahead 7-0 after a 19-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Day to Austin Howard, and Newsome added to that with his 15-yard run.
“I have to give all of my credit to O.J. (Hardin) and the offensive line,” Newsome said. “These guys got me to the outside where I needed to go.”
North Pontotoc appeared to have cut that lead in half, as Marcus Green took the ensuing kickoff back 94-yards for a touchdown, but that play was brought back on a holding penalty against the Vikings.
Newsome added two more touchdowns in the second quarter from two and five yards out. The second touchdown with 53 seconds remaining before the half came after Larenz Jones intercepted North Pontotoc quarterback Trey Jolly, starting the Bulldogs’ offensive drive at the Viking 44-yard line.
With New Albany ahead 28-0 at the start of the third quarter, the Vikings got on the board on a 68-yard pass from Jolly to Green. Another Viking interception led to a touchdown by O.J. Hardin, and Newsome added two more scores to close the third quarter with New Albany ahead 49-6.
Sophomore Terry Montgomery put the Bulldogs up 56-6 early in the fourth, and Jolly would connect with Green once more late in the game.
“We made sure we were able to contain him as much as possible, knowing where he was at at all times on the field,” Hardin said of the defensive effort against Green. “He still did some things, but he was limited in what he could do.”
“We didn’t care who touched the ball tonight, we just wanted to stop their offense,” Price added. “We knew that they threw the ball a lot and that he (Green) is their best player. He burned us one time on a big catch and took it to the end zone. Our defense wanted to go out tonight and prove how good they really are, and I think they did a great job tonight.”
The win puts the Bulldogs at 4-4 on the year and 2-0 in district play. Price said he is most pleased with the team coming together and playing a complete game.
“We’ve played good in spurts every single game, and we’ve had our challenges this season, but this group of guys have stuck together, battled and believed in each other,” he said. “To come together tonight and play together as a team on offense, defense and special teams; it feels good to go into the fourth quarter and not have to be on the edge of your seat, worrying about every single play. For them to come out and play the way they did makes me proud to be their coach.”
Next week, New Albany will host Lafayette for senior night. The Bulldogs and Commodores are the only teams still undefeated in division play, and New Albany likes the confidence they take into the game.
“It gives us a lot of confidence and shows us that we can play as a team and do things right,” Newsome said. “This is the only game we’ve come out and dominated the entire game, and we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
“This group of kids can be the first to win two division titles, and that’s something we take pride in, and it’s something we believe we can do,” Price added. “We have an opportunity next Friday at home on senior night to go out against the two-time defending state champions. What more could you ask for as a high school football player to go out on your home field and play against, what many believe, is the best 4A team in the state? Hopefully we’ll stay focused next week, go out and battle for 48 minutes and see what happens.”