Tigers earns first win of the season
Sitting at 0-6 with five losses by six points or less, the Newberg High School football team took the field against Glencoe on Friday, Oct. 15, with victory on its collective mind. Finally, after seven weeks, the Tigers made that mindset a reality and bested the Crimson Tide 31-13 for their first win of the season.
"I think it's just great for the kids," NHS coach Jeremy Johnson said. "Homecoming night, the whole town and whole city being able to be here and the spirit of the moment. The crowd loves to watch our kids compete, and it feels good to get a win for them."
Newberg got things going on the very first play of the night. Senior wideout Sam Murphy returned the opening kick to the opposing 25, and after two runs by burly junior back Hudson Davis, the Tigers already were up 6-0 after 51 seconds of play.
Midway through the first, Davis punched it in the end zone again, making it 13-0 Tigers.
"Offensively, we were able to really control the ball," Johnson said. "We were able to get 10, 15, 20 yards on a bunch of quick rush plays early in the game. That set the tone. Defensively, we weren't giving up a lot of big stuff early and that forced them to have to earn it."
Glencoe responded with a first-quarter touchdown, though, after a solid offensive drive that resulted in a 19-yard touchdown run by Cayden Mack. Through one quarter of play, it was 13-7 Newberg.
With less than five minutes left in the second quarter, Newberg scored again on a dazzling 62-yard pass from senior Gavin Korkeakoski to Murphy, who scampered for the score. A two-point conversion made it 21-7 Tigers at the half.
Glencoe managed one more score midway through the third quarter, a five-yard run by Royce Fasel that made it 21-13.
The Tigers opened it up from there, though, with Davis scoring again on the ground (his third touchdown of the night) to make it 28-13 through three. A late, line drive field goal by sophomore kicker Daniel Valdez-Espinoza brought the game to its final score of 31-13.
As the final buzzer sounded and the postgame handshakes were completed, Newberg's players erupted in glee and joined one another in singing the school's song before each taking a turn ringing the victory bell. It proved a sweet sound for the Tigers after what has been a challenging season.
"These guys have been really positive with each other," Johnson said. "They're jovial. They really enjoy being around each other, and it's shown all season. The mindset has been enjoying each other and the relationships and the time we get to spend on the field with one another."
Newberg looks ahead to a road game at rival McMinnville on Oct. 22. After that, the Tigers wrap up their regular season schedule with a home game against Century on Oct. 29.
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