VIDEO: Mike Turner Interview
VIDEO: Derrick Evans Interview
VIDEO: Temoris Coats Interview
NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry (2-2, 1-0 South Atlantic Conference) held Carson-Newman (2-2, 1-1 SAC) to its worst offensive output in five years and used a bruising defense to collect a 23-3 win over the Eagles Saturday afternoon at Setzler Field.
The Eagles were limited to 162 yards rushing and 218 yards of total offense. The yards rushing are the lowest since North Greenville held Carson-Newman to 106 yards last year, while the total offensive output is the lowest since a 155-yard effort against Lenoir-Rhyne in a 37-3 regular season loss in 2013.
"It's just a matter of execution. You know, if you can do it one time, you should be able to do it multiple times," Carson-Newman head coach Mike Turner said. "It's one of those games where they (Newberry) have a plan. We talked about it early and we had a plan on how to attack it, and they key we told our kids is you have to have a body for a body. That accounts for everybody in the option game. And when you do that you have a chance to win.
"I'm proud of our kids (for their effort) and I told them just that a while ago. They're heartbroken, and I'm heartbroken, and the main thing right now is that you draw nigh. That you draw closer and closer together. Everybody's with you, everybody's together when you win, but when it's tough times like this you've really gotta be united."
The win gives Newberry its first three-game win streak over the Eagles in consecutive seasons in the modern era. It's also the Wolves fourth straight win over the Eagles at home.
After Carson-Newman and Newberry traded punts on the first two possessions of the day, the Eagles looked to have something brewing on their second possession.
Carson-Newman started the drive at its own two and marched 82 yards in 15 plays, chewing up 8:10 of clock. However, instead of a touchdown, Derrick Evans (Macon, Ga.) lobbed his first pick of the year on a pass intended for Romain Kelly. Kevin Vereen won a jump ball to haul in the INT at the two.
Newberry made Carson-Newman pay for the miscue with a 10-play, 98-yard drive.
Markell Castle scored his fourth career touchdown against Carson-Newman by taking a reverse 57 yards to the house. Castle broke four tackles on his way to the end zone to give Newberry an initial 7-0 lead with 12:17 to play in the second quarter.
Carson-Newman was able to get on the board the next possession. The Eagles rattled off a six-play, 49-yard drive that stalled at the Newberry 24. Caden Patterson (Clarksville, Tenn.) was pure from a career-long distance of 41 yards to pull C-N within four, 7-3 with 9:29 to play in the second quarter.
Newberry countered with a field goal of their own. Kevin Weber drilled a 48-yard brace to finish off an eight-play, 46-yard possession and stretch the Newberry lead back to a touchdown.
Carson-Newman looked to pull back within four, but botched a hold on a field goal attempt to set the halftime margin at 10-3.
All four of the Eagles first-half possessions made it into Newberry territory. However, Carson-Newman never did crack the Newberry red zone and only had three points to show from the first half.
Things didn't get much better after halftime. The teams swapped six three-and-outs in the third quarter alone. Carson-Newman was limited to a whopping six yards of offense. Newberry had the lone productive drive of the frame, moving 44 yards in 10 plays for Shea Rogers to drill a 40-yard field goal with 2:48 left in the third.
He added another field goal from 34 with 5:01 to play in the fourth.
Newberry delivered the deathnell with 4:23 to play in the fourth. Evans tossed a pass to the right sideline that was bobbled. David Vereen raced under it before the Eagles' receiver could gain control and took it 57 yards to the house for the first pick six Carson-Newman had allowed since 2016.
The second half held true to form or the Eagles in their past four meetings with the Wolves. Carson-Newman has just once score after halftime in the last four years against Newberry, a game-winning Damian Baker rush in the fourth quarter of the 2015 game at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
"it must be back to the coach, because what we did at halftime, we made the adjustments, we thought we were going to be good and work against it," Turner said. "But hey, you know, this is a players' game. A player's gotta play, and you've gotta let them play, and you can't worry about them. You've gotta let them them go at a speed that they're going to make mistakes, but we've just gotta get a little bit better. We've gotta get better as a football team, no doubt about it."
Carson-Newman was 0-for-10 on third downs.
Even with the offensive struggles, Carson-Newman's defense played well enough to put the Eagles in a position to win. Carson-Newman held Newberry under 300 yards of total offense. The Wolves were 3-for-11 on third downs.
"I liked the way our defense fights, and they continue to fight," Turner said. "We're great attackers over there on that side of the football, there's no doubt about it. But those kids played well enough for us to win."
Antonio Wimbush (Kingsland, Ga.) led Carson-Newman on the ground with 87 yards on 15 carries. Evans was 5-for-11 through the air for 56 yards. Ed Aldred (Dania Beach, Fla.) caught two passes for 36 yards.
Four different Wolves all rushed for at least 45 yards, headlined by Castle's 61 yards.
Joe Blue and Jamarcus Henderson each had nine tackles to lead the Wolves.
The Eagles finish up a stretch of four of five on the road next Saturday at Catawba. Kickoff with the Indians is set for 1:30 p.m. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 12:30 with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.