STERLING – The Newman Comets had a few hiccups to start Saturday’s Class 2A second-round playoff game against Chicago Hope Academy, but they were only minor setbacks – and easily overcome.
After a pair of first-quarter fumbles led to an early deficit, the Comets converted two second-quarter Hope turnovers into touchdowns to pull away for a 41-22 victory at
Roscoe Eades Stadium.
“We just fought through the adversity and made our own luck,” Cade Gorzny said. “It’s a big momentum change when you get turnovers and then score off of them.”
Big plays really boosted Newman (11-0). The Comets had 10 runs of 10 or more yards, including five that went for at least 20 – and four of those went for touchdowns. Easton Bianchi had two scores of over 50 yards (70 & 52), Luke Olson added a 58-yard scoring scamper, and Gorzny had a 36-yard TD run.
Newman also had a 47-yard TD pass from Landen Vesley to a wide-open Karter Decker late in the first quarter for a 13-8 lead the Comets never relinquished.
One of the big reasons for the big plays was the alignment of the Hope defense. The Eagles (8-3) lined up all 11 defenders within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage, so when the Newman backs got through the first level, there was nobody left.
“The cutback was always there, and it happened three or four times,” Bianchi said. “It was just great blocking; our line was great despite missing two starters, the running backs were blocking for each other, and everybody knew they had a job to do and stepped up and got the job done.”
Bianchi ran for 204 yards, Gorzny added 131 yards, and Vesley threw for 103 yards on 4-for-6 passing – 3 of those completions went for more than 15 yards – as the Comets racked up 513 yards of total offense, including 410 on the ground.
Hope quarterback Neil Campbell threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 15-for-28 passing, but he also had three passes intercepted – two by junior Alec Faley, who corralled a pair of overthrows.
“I saw the passes go flying up in the air, so I took off after them and just grabbed the ball,” Faley said. “We knew this team was going to be very athletic, but we work really well as a defense altogether.”
, and we’re just going to keep going forward.”
Olson led the Newman defense with nine tackles – two for loss – Clayton Yde added nine tackles, and Chase Graham had eight tackles, including three for loss.
Class 2A playoffs, 2nd round
Newman 41, Chicago Hope Academy 22
Player of the game: Easton Bianchi, Newman, 13 rushes, 204 yards, 2 TDs; 1 catch, 22 yards
He said it: ““The line just did their assignments, and having two guys go down [Drew Ackman & Trevor Buser], Hunter Buser and Eli Fiorini really stepped up. All those guys up front really stepped up big for this game, and that’s all we could ask for.” – Newman running back Cade Gorzny
Up next: 2A playoffs, quarterfinal, Orion at Newman, time & date TBD