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LITHIA—Newsome coach Kenneth Hiscock’s message to his team was simple:
Do your job. Nothing more, and nothing less.
“If everyone does your own job, trusts in the person next to them, then we’ll all come together as a unit and play all four quarters instead of just the first half like we’ve done the past two weeks,” senior wingback Royce Easley said after practice Wednesday. “We couldn’t finish the game.”
In their season opener at Tampa Bay Tech, the Wolves jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to a steady dose of runs with two pass plays of 20+ yards sprinkled in the mix. Newsome had a nine-point lead at halftime, but its offense stalled in the second half, managing only 29 yards before its final drive.
The Titans, meanwhile, kicked into gear. Tampa Bay Tech took a 25-19 with four minutes remaining in the game, but Newsome quarterback Will Worth conjured up a bit of last-minute magic, as Jorge Thompson jumped off of his route to catch an errant 28-yard pass that led to the game-winning touchdown. The defense bent but didn’t break on the Titan’s final drive, and the game ended with an incomplete pass that landed in Newsome’s end zone with the score Newsome 26, Tampa Bay Tech 25.
Last week, though, there were no second-half heroics at Jefferson, and Newsome lost a game it had dominated for three quarters 22-21. The Dragons had zero first downs in the second quarter and only one offensive possession in the third, but their defense came up with consecutive stops on third-and-2 and fourth-and-2 on the Newsome 25-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Jefferson scored on the next play to take the lead, and Newsome’s 34-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game was wide left.
Easley said he and his Newsome teammates, many of whom play both offense and defense, were a bit fatigued after the first half in their previous games. In hopes of fixing that for this week, Hiscock added extra sprints to his team’s practices this week.
“(Fatigue) shouldn’t be a problem anymore,” Worth said after running several 110-yard sprints to end Wednesday’s practice.
Hiscock, Worth said, has also emphasized the mental aspect of finishing strong.
“It’s a mindset,” Hiscock said. “When you have it in the bag, you’ve got to stay on top and not let up. It’s just a mentality we’ve got to establish here at Newsome.”
Newsome will get one more chance to finish off a traditional Tampa powerhouse this week against Hillsborough (1-1).