Newport survives late Eagles rally
MANDATA – The Newport defense had a solid outing Friday night at Line Mountain. The team limited the home Eagles to just 116 yards of total offense and certainly stepped up when it needed to most.
Newport’s defense halted a potential game-winning drive by the Eagles to earn themselves a 20-15 victory.
The Eagles found themselves down 20-8 and punting the ball away with just under nine minutes remaining in the game, but a few strong defensive stands and a quick touchdown found the Eagles down 20-15 with 3:42 remaining in the game and a chance to march down the field on a game-winning drive.
That drive didn’t quite culminate, as Newport’s strong defensive stand earned its first victory at Line Mountain since 1993.
The Buffaloes defense limited Line Mountain to eight rushing yards on three carries on the final drive and good coverage forced Line Mountain quarterback Evan Herb to throw two consecutive incompletion that gave Newport the victory.
It was an emotional victory for Newport head coach Todd Rothermel who played football and also coached for the Line Mountain football team back in the early 2000’s.
“I grew up here. I played on this field. I got an opportunity to start coaching here and had a ton of magical moments,” said an emotional Rothermel following the win. “When I took over the Newport program, my dad passed away the first year and we haven’t won here since 1993. Its emotional for me personally. My dad never missed a game. Its nice to come back and get one.”
Newport was able to get on the scoreboard first in the opening quarter after Line Mountain’s second three-and-out in as many drives to start the game.
A Jacob Feese punt was muffed by the Newport return man but recovered at the Buffaloes’ own five-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Newport running back Ethan Rode rumbled down the right sideline for 55 yards and the Newport drive was off and running – no pun intended.
The Buffaloes ended up scoring quite quickly on a seven-play drive, though it took a fourth-down conversion to put points on the board.
Facing a fourth-and-five from the Line Mountain 25, Newport quarterback Elijah York dropped back in the pocket and delivered a strike to a wide-open Reilly Taylor for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, giving Newport a 6-0 advantage.
In the second quarter Line Mountain was finally able to get the offense going by taking advantage of good field position. After another Feese punt deep into Newport territory, the Buffaloes fumbled on the first play of the drive, giving the Eagles the ball at the Newport 29-yard line.
The Eagles used a little fourth down magic of their own on the drive, as quarterback Evan Herb found wideout Kelly Reed in the endzone on a fourth-and-seven play for a Line Mountain touchdown. An offsides penalty by Newport on the PAT try put the ball on the one-yard line, and Brandon Carson placed his offense back out on the field in an attempt at scoring two points.
The attempt paid off as Feese took a carry up the middle to give Line Mountain an 8-6 advantage early in the second quarter.
Newport struck right back on its next drive, as Rode accounted for 43 of the 44 yards gained on the drive which culminated in a two-yard rushing touchdown by the senior running back.
Rode produced the most offense by far in the game for either team. Rode carried the ball 31 times for 210 yards and a touchdown in the victory.
“To be honest I wasn’t quite sure if we were going to be more physical than them up front,” said Coach Rothermel. “Their size had me a little concerned, but I thought our kids played very inspired and they did the things we asked them to do this week in order to get better.”
Rode was a workhorse in the third quarter as Newport possessed the ball for all but 2 minutes and 24 seconds in the 12-minute third quarter.
In that span, Rode carried the ball on 13 of 20 offensive snaps for Newport, including nine of the first 10 plays run by Newport in the second half of play.
With 9:09 remaining in the game, Newport scored what seemed to be the touchdown to put the game away. On fourth-and-goal from the Line Mountain six-yard line, York dropped back and found Mason Huggins in the endzone for the score.
Line Mountain quickly went three-and-out and punted the ball back to Newport. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, an attempt to run the ball and run some time of the clock backfired on a holding penalty on first down.
The hold put Newport behind the sticks and after two consecutive running plays, Newport found itself with a third-and-15. On what is normally a safe play call Newport ran a screen pass, but the ball was deflected into the air and intercepted by Line Mountain’s Colin Fritchey.
Three running plays by Jacob Feese later, and the Eagles found themselves within a score with still six minutes to play.
Line Mountain decided to kick the ball deep and lean on its defense which had just produced a big turnover. The result was everything Line Mountain had hoped for, as the Eagles stopped a run for no gain on first down, then followed that up with back-to-back sacks by safety Cameron Smeltz.
“That was really big,” said Coach Carson of his team’s late defensive heroics. “Our defense did a really nice job there.”
Down 20-15, Line Mountain regained possession with 3:42 remining, but the potential game winning drive by the Eagles came up short as the team produced just one first down on the final drive.
“I hate that we couldn’t score there at the end when we got the ball back to kind of reward the team and reward our defense.” said Coach Carson. “I feel like the offense just let the team down and that’s my responsibility. The game was there to be won and we just didn’t take advantage.”
Rothermel was happy with the way his team preformed to earn his first win at Line Mountain as a visiting coach.
“I thought we did a good job of keeping ourselves composed and under control and staying focused,” he said. “We made a ton of mistakes, but that’s high school football. It was nice for us to be able to put them back on their heels.”
Newport improved to 4-3 overall on the season with the win, while Line Mountain is now 3-4 after losing back-to-back home games.
Newport 20, Line Mountain 15
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Newport 6 8 0 6 — 20
Line Mountain 0 8 0 7 — 15
N—Reilly Taylor 25-yard reception from Elijah York (PAT No Good), 2:59.
LM—Kelly Reed 21-yard reception from Evan Herb (2 pt. Conversion Good; Jacob Feese run), 8:48.
N—Ethan Rode 2-yard run (2 pt. Conversion Good; Taylor reception from York), 5:08.
N—Mason Huggins 6-yard reception from York (PAT No Good), 9:09.
LM—Feese 1-yard run (Cameron Smeltz PAT Good),6:08
TEAM STATISTICS N LM
First downs 10 5
Total yards 300 116
Rushes-yards 41-244 26-88
Yards passing 56 28
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 5-10-1 5-12-1
Punts-avg. 3-28 5-30
Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-0
Penalties-yards 9-60 3-30
RUSHING—Line Mountain: Feese 15-70 TD, Herb 8-7, Reed 1-5, Cameron Smeltz 1-3, Jace Hackenberg 1-3. Newport: Rode 31-210 TD, York 6-21, Huggins 1-13, Alexander Vanhorn 1-2, TEAM 2-(-2).
PASSING—Line Mountain: Herb 4-10 22 yds, TD; Feese 1-2 6 yds, INT. Newport: York 5-10 56 yds, 2TD, INT.
RECEIVING—Line Mountain: Reed 3-23 TD, Garrett Laudenslager 1-6, Aidan Herb 1-(-1). Newport: Taylor 2-42 TD, Huggins 2-13 TD, Vanhorn 1-1.
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