Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hobbled, Newsome faces Durant in most important game of year

LITHIA — Newsome coach Ken Hiscock gathered his team after defeating Riverview 18-6 last week and led the guys in the school fight song. After dismissing them, he turned and watched a slew of players in various stages of pain meander toward the fieldhouse.

And those were just the ones who were able to dress for the particularly physical game against the Sharks.

When asked if he feels like he's running a MASH unit, Hiscock said, "Yeah. That pretty much sums it up."

Injuries are part of football and teams get beat up through the course of the season, but Newsome has been particularly snakebit this year.

Topping the list of injured Wolves are arguably their top two players: running back Conner Powers and linebacker/tight end Joe Worth, both juniors.

Powers, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards his first two years at Newsome, injured his posterior cruciate ligament Oct. 16 against Leto and is done for the season.

"Any time you lose guys of their caliber, there's a cause for concern," Hiscock said. "But honestly, it was more worrying on the part of the coaches than the players. Our young men have just gone out and played and not put too much emphasis on who has been hurt."

Worth injured his knee the following week against Bloomingdale and may be back for the playoffs. But Hiscock said this week that he doubts that Worth will return this season. Even though Worth may not have been in the game, the team still feels his impact, Hiscock said.

"When Joe speaks, the guys all listen," Hiscock said. "Even though he's been out, he walks up and down the sidelines and barks out calls to the defense."

Powers and Worth aren't the only key Wolves to miss significant time. Running backs Darnell Tucker and Keller Powers missed games with nagging ankle problems. Linebacker Christian Durant, offensive lineman Kyle Weeks and receiver Kaelan Smith are all lost for the season. Defensive back Jarrod Withrow is expected to return tonight after injuring his knee in the second week of play.

Linebacker Paul Zaner, who picked off a pass that led to a touchdown against Riverview, said injuries have been a distraction but he thinks the Wolves can work through them.

"It just means we have to step it up a little more," he said. "Losing those guys is huge, but we have to make up for that by working harder. And I think we've done that."

The Wolves are riding a five-game winning streak heading into tonight's meeting with district rival Durant. At 5-2, Newsome's only losses of the season came from Armwood and Alonso. Newsome heads to the playoffs for the second consecutive season as district champs with a win against the Cougars.

"We had a pretty nasty schedule to start the year," Zaner said. "But we got through those games against tough teams and have been putting it all together lately."

Injuries aside, the Wolves are facing their most important game of the year tonight against visiting Durant. A win against the Cougars will lock up the district title and guarantee a home playoff game when the postseason kicks off Nov. 20. If Newsome loses, there will be a three-way playoff Monday among the Wolves, Raiders and Cougars for the two playoff slots.

And that conjures up some bad memories for the coach.

Newsome finished 7-3 in 2006, but the district title came down to a thee-way tiebreaker against Freedom and Hillsborough. The Wolves wound up on the losing end of that, denying Newsome a school-first playoff berth.

"A tiebreaker is about the last on anybody's mind around here," Hiscock said. "If we go out and take care of business against Durant, that won't come into play. That's our focus."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

SCHEDULE

All games kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Durant (6-2) at Newsome (5-2)

Armwood (7-1) at East Bay (5-4)

Bloomingdale (0-8) at Riverview (2-6)

Brandon (2-6) at Freedom (5-2)

Lennard (2-5) at Steinbrenner (1-5)

Lakewood (6-2) at Spoto (7-2)

Strawberry Crest (1-5) at Robinson (7-1)

Hobbled, Newsome faces Durant in most important game of year 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.