New Albany closed the regular season with a win at Lewisburg on Friday, and the scoring came on two big passing plays, as the Bulldogs defeated the Patriots, 14-13.
The Bulldogs are accustomed to what running back Boston Newsome can do on the ground, but it was the senior’s arm and ability to find an open Spencer Day that put the first points on the board in the opening quarter.
“We’ve had that play in for about three weeks now, and the way we ran it tonight isn’t exactly how we’ve practiced it, but Boston made a play, came back and got open, and Spencer made a great catch,” Bulldogs head coach Ron Price said. “Sometimes you’ve got to go to your bag of tricks to make it happen, and the guys came through and made a big play there.”
Lewisburg tied the game late in the second quarter on a quarterback sneak by D.J. Steakley, but Day broke the tie at the 3:33 mark in the third, finding a wide open Austin Howard for a 38-yard touchdown pass, giving the ‘Dawgs the 14-7 lead.
Chris Taylor put the Patriots within one with 4:19 remaining on his 21-yard run, but Lewisburg failed on the two-point conversion, keeping New Albany in the lead. The Patriots received the ball once more with 2:28 remaining, but the Bulldogs were able to hold on after a missed field goal attempt with six seconds left.
“We knew Lewisburg would give us their best shot tonight, and they did that and more,” Price said. “Our guys found a way to win there at the end of the game.”
New Albany finishes the regular season at 7-4 (5-0) and is currently riding a five-game win streak after entering division play at 2-4. The win also improves the Bulldogs’ division record to 14-1 over the last three seasons.
“At 2-4, you didn’t know why things were going the way they were, but the struggles we had at the beginning of the year really propelled us through this district run,” Price said. “The guys have grown so much, and I think they’ve become a football team during this district run.”
“The seniors have matured and given us that senior leadership, and it’s been amazing to see where we started against Ripley in week one and where we were able to finish tonight. To be 5-0 in the division and have our second division title in three years, that’s 14-1 over the last three years in district play, and that’s something these kids can be proud of for many years to come, and when they look back at their high school career, it’s something they can be very excited about.”
The Bulldogs will play at home next Friday night, Nov. 2, in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.