Mineral Wells Area News

Newcastle races past Greyhounds in district opener

Newcastle races past Greyhounds in district opener
October 23
19:07 2023


Special to Mineral Wells Area News

NEWCASTLE – The Strawn Greyhounds knew they would have their hands full Friday night against Class 1A-2 top 10-ranked Newcastle. They got way more than they bargained for from the Bobcats in losing their district opener 74–54.

Strawn taking the field and Strawn’s offense lines up for a first-quarter play against Newcastle on Friday.

Strawn entered the game riding a strong four-game win streak. That had the ‘Hounds feeling good about their chances against the perennial Young County six man powerhouse. But the Bobcats got off to a fast start and Strawn was unable to keep pace.

The game ended with 3:43 to play in the third quarter when Newcastle scored to exceed the 45-point mercy-rule point spread. The loss dropped Strawn to 5-3 on the year, while Newcastle, the pre-season district favorite ranked seventh by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, improved to 7-1.

Strawn Head Coach Dwaine Lee challenged his players afterward. If they want to make the playoffs, they have to win their last two games against Forestburg and Gold-Burg.

He said his team will need to quickly put Friday’s game behind them.

“It’s just like anything else,” said Lee. “You go back to the drawing board. If you win or lose, you have to get better. We have to correct some mistakes. We played a really good team. We can’t make those kind of mistakes.”

The game didn’t get off to a good start for the Greyhounds. Strawn took the opening kickoff and was facing fourth-and-five from Newcastle’s 35 when a fumbled snap turned the ball over to the Bobcats. On fourth-and-14 from their 34, Isaac King threw to Ty Strawbridge that went for a long score and an 8-0 Newcastle lead.

Newcastle recovered an onside kick and two plays later scored again on a 12-yard run by King to make it 16-0 midway through the opening quarter.

The Greyhounds answered. Taking the ball at the midfield 40, running back Michael Barcenas had a 15-yard run. Kaison Nunez and David Yanez each had carries that set up a 10-yard pass from Nunez to Robert Hinkson. On third-and-goal from the 7, Barcenas took the ball and exploded around the left side of the line and into the end zone. Hinkson’s point-after kick made it a 16-8 affair with just under a minute remaining in the first quarter.

A personal foul against Newcastle on the touchdown run allowed Strawn to kick from Newcastle’s 35. The Bobcats covered and three plays later were in the end zone again to make it 24-8 with just 19.1 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The Bobcats recovered the ensuing onside kick at Strawn’s 36 and, again, needed three plays to score, capped by a King 14-yard run to make it 32-8 with just seconds off the second-quarter clock.

Once again, Strawn responded with an impressive drive. Jesse Corona and Barcenas had their numbers called on runs that left Strawn facing fourth-and-three at Newcastle’s 25. Barcenas ripped off a 20-yard run to the Newcastle 5 before running through the heart of the Bobcats defense for a touchdown. Hinkson’s PAT pulled Strawn to within 32-16.

But Newcastle countered quickly. On fourth-and-23 from their own 13, the Bobcats hit a 67-yard touchdown pass to Strawbridge to make it 38-16 midway through the second.

Strawn turned the ball over to Newcastle after four plays on its next series, and the Bobcats struck again after taking over at Strawn’s 25, the number of yards Tristan Clemons ran on second down for a score to put Newcastle on top 46-16 with just under 3 minutes before intermission.

The Greyhounds answered with a seven-play, 53-yard drive capped by a 16-yard pass from Hinkson to Alex Hughes that made it 46-26 with 25.5 seconds until halftime.

Unfortunately, that was enough time for Newcastle. A big return on the kickoff gave the Bobcats the ball at Strawn’s 17. Two incomplete passes led to a King run that sent the teams to their respective locker rooms with the score 52-24 in Newcastle’s favor.

The Bobcats scored on the first play of the third quarter to make it 60-24.

Strawn would have just two third-quarter possessions that both ended with turning the ball over on downs. Both resulted in Bobcats scores for the final score.

Lee looked for some positives after letting his team know afterward that while they are still in the playoffs, they will have to fight for it and win their last two games.

“We handled some fourth downs and did some things,” said Lee. “It should make us better playing a team like that. We have the next two weeks and we will find out how much they (the players) want it. We want it. But we’ve got to tweak a few things.”


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