Under the Friday lights
Newton’s 41-0 win over Eastside most lopsided in series history
The Newton and Eastside High student sections were in rare form Friday night in the 14th edition of the in-county rivalry game between the two football teams. Newton defeated Eastside 41-0 this time around.
For a few moments Friday night, Newton football coach, Terrance Banks turned off the coachspeak button and let his comments flow from his heart.
Forget about all of the, “it’s just another game” rhetoric. Banks let it be known that Friday’s 41-0 win over Eastside — his first as coach, and the program’s first win over its county rival since 2011 — was special to him and to other Rams, both on and away from Sharp Stadium.
“This is not just for the players on this team,” Banks said. “This is for J.J. (Holloman), for Jaquan (Henderson), Toyus Avery, Steven Montac. It’s for every player I’ve ever coached who didn’t get the chance to win this game. And I just want them to know it’s as sweet as we all imagined it to be.”
In what was the most lopsided win ever in a series full of closely contested games, the Newton Rams dominated Eastside in every facet, from beginning to end, holding the Eagles to under 80 yards of total offense on its way to victory Friday night at Homer Sharp Stadium.
The win, astounding in its dominance, also marked the first time Eastside has been blanked in the series and just the second time since 2009 the Eagles have been shutout in a regular season game.
UAB commit Nuru Tinch went over 100 yards in the first half for the second straight game, netting 160 rushing yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, My- ron Middlebrooks completed 10 of 20 passes for 135 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
But even that effort wasn’t enough for the senior quarterback to rest in his laurels. Middlebrooks celebrated with his teammates in the immediate aftermath of the win. But when it was suggested that his performance was solid, he shook his head and only spoke on the things he needed to improve on.
“We got this win and it feels good,” Middlebrooks said. “But there’s still a lot to clean up. Like when I fumbled over there when we had another chance to score, I can’t let things like that happen.”
To be sure, things like that didn’t happen very often Friday night.
Newton’s dominance began, literally, from the very first play, when an overwhelmed Eastside offensive line couldn’t stop Darnell Jeffries, Dre Butler and Josh Smith from converging on sophomore quarterback Noah Cook for an eight yard loss.
After a three-and-out, Newton went on a methodical, eight-play, 59yard drive that featured six Nuru Tinch runs. Tinch capped off the scoring drive with a 12-yard push into the end zone.
Newton’s defense was active again, shutting down anything Eastside tried to do offensively. And when the Rams got back on offense, Tinch found pay dirt again, this time as a receiver. Quarterback Myron Middlebrooks found Tinch out of the backfield and fired a 41-yard scoring strike to the senior to give Newton a 13-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first half.
Middlebrooks would throw his second touchdown pass of the night on Newton’s next offensive possession. This time, it was a 13-yard toss to Mike Mathison at the 6:23 mark in the second quarter to stretch the Rams’ lead to 20-0.
Before halftime, Tinch would make sure Newton would light up the scoreboard again, as he sliced through the Eastside defense and sprinted 62 yards for a score. That
gave Newton a 27-0 lead at halftime.
Newton’s “Blue Swarm” defense lived up to its name, as Eastside could only muster 33 yards on its first 17 plays in the first half. Eastside didn’t obtain a nonpenalty aided first down until Tyon Davis gained 17 yards on a run play at the 3:56 mark of the second quarter.
Middlebrooks added another score when he found Robert Lewis running free over the middle for a 20-yard toss-and-catch for a touchdown at the 9:44 mark of the fourth quarter. One drive later, Middlebrooks found David Butso in the corner of the end zone to provide the final margin.
Newton (2-0) will go into a bye week this Friday before starting a four game September road stretch with a matchup at Peachtree Ridge on Sept. 8. Meanwhile, Eastside will face its other in-county rival, Alcovy, next Friday at Sharp Stadium. Alcovy hosted Meadowcreek on Saturday night. You can find complete coverage of that game on our website, www.covnews. com.
Kendrick Carlton (61) and Christian Murray (71) double team on a block that cleared the way for a big Nuru Tinch run.
Newton linebacker Cozbi Craig, left, chases Eastside quarterback, Brayden Harper.
Newton’s Nuru Tinch flies past a pair of Eastside defenders on his way to a 62-yard touchdown run in Friday’s 41-0 win over the Eagles.