LAWRENCEVILLE – The Lawrenceville Indians had no trouble running the ball at will Staurday, as they gained 470 yards on the ground in a 48-26 win over the Newton Eagles.
For Newton, scheme and playcalling generally weren’t the issue; it was an issue with tackling.
Lawrenceville routinely shrugged off first and second contact as the Indians averaged an even 10 yards per carry against the Eagle defense.
“Defensively, we did not play well. We’re not tackling,” said Newton coach Jason Fulton. “This has been a big issue for us in all four games we’ve played. A lot of times, we had first contact behind the line of scrimmage and didn’t finish people off.”
The loss drops Newton to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in the Little Illini Conference’s Egyptian Division.
Newton stopped the Indians in routine fashion on their first drive, but gave the ball right back on a punt. From there, Lawrenceville’s offense went right to work.
The Indians scored three times on the first quarter in a span of six minutes on a 22-yard rushing score by Dalton Vories, a 37-yard run by Vories and a 14-yard touchdown run by quarterback Zach Shoulders. Just like that, at the end of the first, it was 20-0 Lawrenceville.
The Indians would score again with nine minutes to score when on a third-and-long, Shoulders hit Dalton Sholders for a 74-yard touchdown pass to push the score to 28-0 at the half.
Newton would come out with a renewed effort in the second, but it would prove to be too little, too late.
“I was pretty calm and just said ‘Seniors, how did you expect this season to go? Is this what you thought it was going to be, games like this?’” Fulton said. “It’s up to them on how they’re going to play.”
The Eagles got possession to start the second half, and scored nearly immediately on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Brock Mammoser to Austin Angel.
Now down 28-7, Newton’s good fortune continued as Lawrenceville fumbled the kickoff and Newton took over at the Lawrenceville 25. With a chance to make it a new game, Newton dropped two passes in the end zone and Mammoser’s scramble on fourth-and-long came up short.
The Indians would score just two plays later when Wyatt Rinsch went 56 yards for a score, making it 36-7.
The teams traded touchdowns from there. Newton would get touchdowns on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Mammoser to Kyle Muska, a two-yard run by Mitch Bierman and a five-yard run by Lucas Huston in the game’s final minute.
Lawrenceville countered with a two-yard touchdown run by Austin Wanke and a 38-yard score by Rinsch.
After falling behind early with the run game shut down, the Eagles turned to the passing game. Mammoser finished the day 24-for-43 for 271 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Muska and Angel were the primary targets, with Muksa catching eight passes for 139 yards and Angel pulling down four catches for 75 yards.
“They were putting eight people in the box,” Fulton said. “Allen (Taylor) didn’t have a lot of room. The passing game was open, I thought Brock did a good job. He’s doing better and better the whole time.
Taylor led the team with 10 carries and 41 yards, while Bierman had five carries for 21 yards, the only other Eagles rusher with more than five yards. Huston had two carries for five yards with the score.
Huston also led the team with five tackles, while Blake Probst and Nate Meinhart each had four tackles. Zack Lewis and Meinhart each recovered a fumble on the day.
Wanked had 12 carries and 155 yards for Lawrenceville, Vories had 13 carries for 126 yards, Rinsch had eight carried for 104 yards and Shoulders carried the ball 11 times for 76 yards.
Tackling was a priority for the Eagles in practice this week, but it proved to be something that will need to continue to be worked on this week as they prepare for a home game with Marshall.
“We spent almost all day Tuesday working on tackling, situational tackling, out in space and getting off blocks,” Fulton said. “We’ve got some people not stepping up right now. “
Marshall is also 1-3 and 0-2 in LIC Egyptian play. They beat Cumberland while falling to Olney and Robinson. The Lions come to Newton at 7 p.m. Friday.
Newton 0 0 14 12 26Lawrenceville 20 8 8 12 48
Rushing: Newton – Taylor 10-41-0, Bierman 5-21-1, Huston 2-5-1; Lawrenceville – Vories 13-126-2, Shoulders 11-76-1, Rinsch 8-104-2, Wanke 12-155-1
Passing: Newton – Mammoser 24-43-271, 2 TD, 2 INT; Lawrenceville – Shoulders 1-4-74, 1 TD, 1 INT
Receiving: Newton – Muska 8-139-1, Muksa 4-75-1; Lawrenceville – Sholders 1-74-1