NEWTON, Texas — After going undefeated in district, the Newton Eagles are battle tested and ready for another shot at state.
"Newton, Texas. This is the deal," said Newton Eagles Head Coach Drew Johnston. "It's the talk of the town and everybody has been excited to get going."
For a good chunk of the Eagles' 2022 roster, this is their last chance at the title.
"We've got a lot of guys coming back," said Coach Johnston. "We've got a big senior class, biggest one we've had in a few years."
"We were really young when they were sophomores," said Coach Johnston. "There was about 15 of them that had to play on varsity, so they've played a lot of football. They've gone through a lot of things. They've kind of had to overcome and adapt and get use to, so there's not a lot that they haven't seen. I think that's definitely a strength for us."
"These guys have been in battle and they're gonna be ready to play," said Coach Johnston. "I'm excited about just having a large senior class again and a group that's got a lot of experience."
This season, the Eagles are leaning on their veteran players, like Willie Ray Smith Award recipient Leighton Foster, to guide the team to December.
"We've got guys like Leighton Foster, kind of does a little everything for us," said Coach Johnston. "Our quarterback Malik Woods has played for us since he was a sophomore. Ethan Lott and Noah Nava, Bryson Mansfield, some offensive linemen that's played since they were sophomore. They've got a lot of experience and, like I said, there's a lot of good juniors and some sophomores too that's gonna get a lot of playing time. We've finally got some depth and some numbers back and we're excited about it."
Coach Johnston says playoffs isn't just a goal for the Eagles, it's their standard, so every game is a battle to the end.
"Here you're expected to play for a long time," said Coach Johnston. "Sometimes you may think you have a good season and you wanted more. I think our kids know that and that's always the goal here. That's something we never have to get out of our guys. That's the plan. Here you plan on playing 'til December and that's it."
2021 Record:10-2, 6-0
District Finish: 1st
Playoffs: Regional (Waskom, L 42-6)
State Championship Appearances:7
2022 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 26 - at Anahuac
Sept. 2 - at Woodville
Sept. 9 - vs Jasper
Sept. 16 - vs West Orange-Stark
*Sept. 23 - at Warren
*Sept. 30 - vs Anderson-Shiro
*Oct. 7 - at Hemphill
*Oct. 14 - vs Trinity
*Oct. 21 - at Kountze
*Nov. 4 - New Waverly