The New Brockton Gamecocks (3-4, 2-2) hit the road for the third consecutive game on Friday, Oct. 4, and picked up a much-needed Class 2A, Region 3 win over the Calhoun Tigers (0-6, 0-4) by a score of 50-14.
The Gamecocks dominated in all phases of the game scoring on offense, defense and special teams along with giving a lot of young New Brockton players a chance to play in the second half.
“The thing I was most pleased with was that I think we handled the road trip extremely well,” New Brockton coach Zack Holmes said. “The kids were very mature in how they handled a long road trip.
“We also came out and played to our standard. I felt like that was the first game that we came out firing on all cylinders from the get go. That’s big time for us, especially with the struggles we’ve had on the road.”
New Brockton wasted no time jumping out to a lead as the Gamecock defense forced a quick three-and-out, and then Gamecock quarterback Kaden Cupp sprinted 43 yards for a touchdown run with 8:34 left in the game to cap off a 7-play drive. The PAT gave New Brockton an early 7-0 lead.
After another Calhoun three-and-out, New Brockton marched on a 7-play scoring drive that was capped off by Cupp’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Colton Marsh with 3:28 remaining in the opening period. The PAT gave the Gamecocks a 14-0 lead.
New Brockton’s DeShawn McLeod picked off a Calhoun pass on the ensuing drive and then Cupp found Russell Weeks for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The PAT extended the lead to 21-0 with 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Central went three-and-out again and New Brockton got on the scoreboard yet again as the second quarter began.
Cupp found receiver Kaden Hood for 42 yards and then Kyan Horne found the end zone on a 7-yard run with 9:41 left in the first half. The PAT was no good and New Brockton led 27-0.
Calhoun’s next possession was its most disastrous of the day as a bad snap and then a sack pushed the Tigers back inside their own 5-yard line. Then, another bad snap went over the quarterback’s head and through the end zone for a New Brockton safety to extend the lead to 29-0.
As Calhoun kicked off, Hood weaved his way through the Calhoun kicking team for a 54-yard return. Horne then scored again – this time on a 4-yard touchdown run – to put New Brockton ahead 36-0 after the PAT with 7:04 left in the second quarter.
Calhoun finally got something going offensively on its next possession and ended up scoring on an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Johnson to Tyrese Seawright with 1:03 left in the first half. Calhoun attempted a two-point conversion but the Gamecocks snuffed it out and kept their lead at 36-6.
Hood then broke off another big return, this time an 80-yard touchdown, to extend New Brockton’s lead to 43-6 with 48 seconds remaining in the half. New Brockton would take that lead into halftime.
New Brockton held Calhoun’s offense to (-8) yards of total offense in the first half.
New Brockton opened up the second half with a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took up the entire third quarter as the second half was shortened to 8-minute quarters and a running clock.
New Brockton sophomore quarterback Brayson Carr threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to junior Avery Weed with 4:58 left in the fourth quarter. The PAT extended New Brockton’s lead to 50-6.
With 2:03 remaining, Calhoun finally got back on the scoreboard with a 40-yard touchdown run from Johnson. The two-point conversion made the final score 50-14.
New Brockton rolled up 381 yards of offense – most of that in the first half – and held Calhoun to just 65 yards of total offense. Calhoun totaled (-7) yards rushing for the game.
The Gamecock offense was once again led by Horne with 109 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 rushing attempts. Sophomore JaMarcus Brown topped 100 yards for the first time in his career, as well, with 121 yards on 13 carries.
Cupp completed 6-of-8 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns along with 51 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Weeks caught two passes for 40 yards and a score. Hood caught one pass for 42 yards and had 134 yards with a touchdown on just two kickoff returns. His 176 all-purpose yards were a career-high.
Brandon McCoy led the New Brockton defense with seven tackles and three tackles-for-loss, while Matthew Speigner added four tackles and one tackle-for-loss.
The Gamecocks will get a chance to rest with a bye week this week before hosting Highland Home for another region matchup on Oct. 18.
“I want them to use this bye week to recharge their batteries and get focused for not just these last three games, but also playing past that,” Holmes said. “We’ll practice three days this week and we’ll really focus on fundamentals.
“I think it helps on a bye week to work on some of the fundamental stuff that you haven’t been able to do as much in individual drills (during the season).”
The Gamecocks are also getting some injured players back, as well. Linebacker Ethan Stinson saw his first action of the season – after undergoing elbow surgery in the offseason – and registered three tackles against Calhoun.
“He played almost the whole game, so that was awesome to have him back,” Holmes said.
The Gamecocks also get receiver Ryder Tetreault back this week after suffering a broken arm early in the season.
“Our program is centered around player development and taking care of our kids (physically),” Holmes said. “I think we’re doing a pretty good job of walking that fine line of getting after it and being physical (in practice), while also taking care of their bodies.”