By Max Terrell
After the grueling practices, long conditioning sessions and the long wait that all wrestlers endure in the off season, the Newcastle Racers are ready to start the wrestling season and get on the mat.
For this year’s Racer team ,there will be a lot of youth on the squad with nine different seniors graduating last spring -- possibly only leaving one or two seniors on the team for the upcoming season. While there will be a lot of youth on this year’s team, wrestling coach Zach Hale is happy with the work ethic the young team has shown.
“I have had the wrestling room open since the first of October, and we have had anywhere from 15 to 16 kids show up at a time to come work out.” Hale said. “We will hopefully get the football guys in three weeks, not that I want them back any time soon [with the playoffs happening], and then we will be able to see where we are at with them.”
Even with the work ethic, so far there will still be a lot more conditioning on the way especially for the football players coming in. Hale says that those athletes still on the football field will be used to running full speed for thirty seconds, but wrestling requires even more conditioning.
There is no doubt heavy conditioning will be awaiting the players moving in to their roles off the field and onto the mat. Hale also said there will be an adjustment period for the students who have been out of wrestling since the summer.
Hunter Palacious looks to be one of the front runners on the team, said Hale. He has wrestled all year round and even competed in the FARGO National Tournament this past summer as a freshman. Hale says that he believes having Palacious in the wrestling room has helped make others better too.
Tyler Brasseux is another wrestler who Hale spoke highly of saying that he was looking forward to seeing the junior competitor improve his game. Brasseux is currently out with a foot injury but should be able to compete in mid-December, which will help the team as a whole.
With several major injuries on the team, Hale still has set an important goal for this young group of athletes.
“I want them to get more unified,” Hale said. “I want them to really get back to the basis and truly understand the team concept that the team will build them up to where they need to go kind of philosophy.”
Hale says that he has seen an improvement in the entire team and not just one competitor since the group has begun training together again changing the training routines of the past.
“The entire team has improved from last year,” he said. “We have changed the way that we drill now and have tried to emulate a college drilling session. We are drilling them hard, and the thing is the kids love it. They are drilling hard, and are becoming more comfortable being in the attacking position.”
For a team eager to begin competing, the hard work will pay off as the Racers will only have to wait a short time after Thanksgiving to get on the mat.
By Max Terrell
The Newcastle Racer’s playoff run ended Friday night after a 40-7 loss to Fort Gibson.
The loss came on another night where the offensive line struggled giving up several sacks and few holes for the running backs.
The lone score for the Racers came off a 22-yard run by Casey Freeman in the second quarter. The Fort Gibson defense pressured the offense all night with Freeman throwing for 111 passing yards and Zach Bergt finished with 31 yards on 12 carries.
This game was the first time the Racers did not score double digit points the entire season with the second lowest scoring total for the Racers happening in week five game against Woodward.
The Racer’s playoff run saw the team go 10-2 for the season and going 6-1 with their only regular season loss coming from Anadarko who went undefeated during the regular season. Fort Gibson had the number two seed coming into the game.
While no team wants to go out on a loss, and the state title is always the goal at the start of the season, head coach Keith Bolles says he is proud of his players.
“Even if I knew we could not win a title again, I would still coach this group again.” Bolles said. “The hard work they put in, and the drive they had every game made it so much fun to coach these guys.”
The words from Bolles shows the cohesiveness the group has had since the beginning of the year. The team surpassed many people’s expectations across the state making it all the way to the state quarterfinals.
“The dedication and determination they showed is what I am most proud of,” said Bolles. “This team put in a lot of work and got better each and every week and improved game to game. There wasn’t a week we did not see improvement from our guys.”
While the seniors on the team will not be able to end their high school careers with a state title, Bolles hopes the team will leave with something even more important than a state ring.
“I want them to realize they worked hard,” said Bolles. “I want them to know that they are leaving their program with success and are prepared for life.”
Bolles ended by saying that he is confident the underclassmen coming into the next year will be able to fill their roles as leaders. “Just like every year, the Racers will start with high expectations and that, “he is excited for the countdown,” he said.
By Max Terrell
Newcastle started its playoff run with a win over Glennpool Friday advancing to the quarter finals on what was a game filled with tons of offense for the Racers that ended in a 41-20 win.
Casey Freeman had one of his best games of the year throwing three touchdowns, all of which came in the first half.
While the offensive scoring production was a bright point for the Racers, the offensive line struggled opening up running holes for Zach Bergt and Freeman. They were under pressure all night, but head coach Keith Bolles feels that the offensive line’s troubles were a one-time problem.
“I think they were bringing more pressure than we could block,” said Bolles. “We have to get our check offs and get the shorter routes, but I think overall we will be fine; and Casey handled the pressure well.”
Even with the slow rushing start, Bergt began finding running lanes scoring a rushing touchdown and capping off his night with a late touchdown catch.
While Freeman’s ability to elude defenders and throw the deep ball were keys to the win, another player had production not only on the offensive side but also on the defensive side of the ball.
C.J Hill made two of the biggest back-to-back plays in the game after forcing a fumble, and the very next play catching a deep touchdown pass that put the Racers ahead by three scores. Hill would end his day with two touchdown receptions, a forced fumble, and an interception.
“CJ does a great job on the field, especially defensively,” said Bolles. “He leads our team in interceptions. He is a lockdown corner, and he is a good open field tackler. CJ is very vital to our defense.”
On several occasions, especially near the end of the game, several players were pushing and shoving after the whistle, and in one instance in the fourth quarter, a Glennpool player was actually ejected from the remainder of the game.
The maturity and discipline helped lead the Racers to the win walking away from opposing players and having few penalties.
“I was very proud of the guys,” said Bolles. “They turned and walked away from some of the things that were possibly questionable, and as a coach you tell your guys [to do that], but you don’t always see it. I did see it tonight, and that is one of the things I am most proud of.”
Newcastle’s next playoff game will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ft. Gibson.
By Darla Welchel
The high school Racers weren’t the only ones playing for high stakes over the weekend, a group of miniature football players with hearts of much larger athletes took to the field to prove they were champs.
Newcastle’s first grade Racers walked away with the Deep Fork Championship for the second year in a row.
After an impressive season, the pint-sized players made it to the championship game, which was played last Saturday at Choctaw High school, said football mom Tiffany Elcyzyn. The young team defeated the Seminole Chieftains 28-8.
“Their conviction to the game has shown though. Inundated practices and game after game, their victories have steadily increased,” she said. “The first grade Racers have been victorious in their endeavors this season remaining undefeated within the Deep Fork Valley league and pushed to the first round of playoffs where they bolted into the second round after a win against Blanchard. The second round of playoffs proved to be a very heart-wrenching, gut-busting, nail biting game against the Seminole Chieftains.”
The small Racers didn’t let the bitter cold deter their determination to once again walk away with the championship title. Also, the group, play in honor of one of their own each year.
“It is important to mention that the boys continue to play in honor of #18 Trey Freeman, their friend who passed away last year after a long battle with leukemia and being born with no immune system. This is a very good group of boys and we pray they continue to go on to do amazing things,” Elcyzyn said.
Here is the coaching staff and the First Grade Racer roster:
Josh Heskew-Head Coach
Cameron Corbin-Asst Coach
Brad Burchett- Asst Coach
Jaye Snow- Asst Coach
Gil Hensley- Asst Coach
1 Korbyn Garver
8 Taj Smith
9 Ayden Elcyzyn
11 Eli Probst
13 Tyler Runyan
16 Trey Burchett
17 Landon Gilbert
22 Wyatt Probst
23 Dalton Stubblefield
28 Kambryn Chapman
29 Brycen Riddle
32 Tanner Trammell
38 Grady Corbin
40 Maddyx Snow
59 Rex Heskew
74 Brody Hensley
77 Hunter Barry
92 Isaiah James
98 Andrew Riggs
By Jennifer Wynne
The Bridge Creek Bobcats hosted the Douglas Trojans at Jerry Wallis Field for their last game. The Bobcats were without one of their top receivers as Mason Trevino was out for the season with a shoulder injury.
The Trojans had a slow start but got moving late in the first with a touchdown by Anthony Jackson with just a few minutes left in the first quarter taking the score to 7/0. The Trojans then took advantage and scored again with 14 seconds left in the quarter.
Douglas had a good interception by Patrick MacLaughlin scoring early in the second quarter taking the score to 21/0.
They were able to capitalize on one more time in the quarter, but the extra point was no good for a 27/0 lead.
Then the Bobcats showed some potential with 44 seconds left in the half when Senior Jimmy Wynne was able to hit Christian Longan between the numbers for a Bridge Creek touchdown. The kick by Senior Victor Esparza was no good bringing the score to Bobcats 6 – Trojans 27 into the half.
Douglas came back with another touchdown in the third quarter and then capitalized on a backward pass ruled against the Bobcats. The pass was picked up by Sergio Nelson and ran in for a touchdown for a score to 40/6.
With Douglas ahead, the Bobcats finally got a break with a fumble, and Senior Jacob Steinhour was in a perfect position to jump on the ball for Bobcat possession.
The Bobcats were then able to capitalize on the possession with a 42-yard touchdown run by Senior Jacob Watkins, the extra kick by Esparza again was no good.
The Bobcats weren’t able to get on the board again and finished out the season with no-wins and the final score was 40/12 Douglas up.
The Bobcats fought a long and tough season and all of Bridge Creek is very proud of the effort put forth by the team this season.
By Cody Johnson
Last Friday the Newcastle Racers concluded their regular season schedule with a 40-21 win over Elgin at home.
Newcastle took an early lead in the first quarter. With six minutes left in the quarter, senior quarterback Casey Freeman scrambles into the end zone, but the extra point kick was unsuccessful.
On the next possession by Elgin, their quarterback was sacked and fumbled the ball. The Racers recovered it and took over on Elgin’s 30-yard line. A few plays later, Gavin Garner caught a ten-yard pass and ran the remaining 15 yards into the end zone. This time, Newcastle’s PAT was successful putting the score at 13-0.
Elgin’s next drive was almost identical. Their running back fumbled the ball, and Freeman recovered it on Elgin’s 17-yard line for Newcastle. With 2:40 left in the first quarter senior Zach Bergt ran the ball in for another Newcastle touchdown. The Racers went ahead 20-0.
Newcastle scored two more touchdowns in the remainder of the first half, one by Garner with a short touchdown catch, and one by Ben Persall with a 31-yard touchdown catch. Shane Martin kicked a 51-yard field goal attempt for the Racers. The kick had enough distance but veered slightly left to fall unsuccessful.
The Owls managed to move into Racer territory once in the first half with a 30-yard pass, but never managed to make it into the end zone. Newcastle finished the first half 34-0.
Newcastle scored one more time early in the third quarter then began sending in their second string for the remainder of the game. The second string teams allowed three Elgin touchdowns, one in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter. In the end, Newcastle claimed the 40-21 victory.
Senior quarterback Casey Freeman passed for 167 yards on 12 passes and rushed for 49 yards on nine carries. Senior running back Zach Bergt ran for 45 yards on 12 carries while receiving 26 yards on three catches. Senior wide receiver Ben Persall received 79 yards on 2 catches. Junior wide receiver Gavin Garner received 31 yards on three catches.
This concluded the regular season for the Newcastle Racers. The Racers will now enter the single elimination playoff bracket by hosting the 5-5 Glenpool Warriors on Friday at home at 7:30 p.m.
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Racers had more than they could handle on Halloween when the No. 1 ranked Anadarko Warriors came to town.
Despite several mounted comebacks, the Racers fell to the Warriors 17-47. This puts Newcastle at 8-1 for the season and 5-1 in district play.
"I think, obviously, we started a little slow," said heach coach Keith Bolles. "I don't want to take anything away from Anadarko, because they are a great team. A loss is never a good thing, but I think we can take this loss and learn from it. In the long run, it is going to make us a better football team."
Even with an unusually low score for Newcastle, senior quarterback Casey Freeman managed to put up 201 yards passing on 16 throws. Senior running back Zach Bergt put up 96 yards on nine carries rushing.
Senior Glenn Cerny caught two passes for 39 yards along with junior Isaac Johnson who had two passes for 48 yards. Junior Cory Hill also caught two passes for 32 yards.
Bolles said. "The turnovers were not good for us. I know [two of them] were on their side of the field."
"Our offensive line had some bright moments, but there were also time where we missed assignments, same thing with our defensive line," he said. "We are going to change some things in our preparation for Elgin."
The Newcastle Racers will return to action Friday for Senior Night when they take on the Elgin Owls at 7:30 p.m.
"Elgin plays in a spread, and they are coming off two big wins," Bolles said. "They are playing their last game, and it is our senior night so there will be a lot emotion there."
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Racers claimed another victory on the road last Friday as they traveled to Weatherford to take on the Eagles. The Racers moved on to 8-0 for the season and 5-0 in district play as they defeated Weatherford 42-21.
Senior quarterback Casey Freeman out performed everyone on the field as he passed for 316 yards and total yardage of 326. Senior running back Zach Bergt also was in spectacular form as he carried the ball 115 yards on 14 carries throughout the night.
The first quarter was uneventful with both teams unable to drive the ball into the end zone.
Early in the second quarter Weatherford ran it in from five yards out and kicked a successful point after touchdown, PAT, to put Weatherford up 7-0. Eagle defense then forced a fumble and ran the ball back for a 70 yard fumbled recovery touchdown. With another successful kick, Weatherford went ahead 14-0.
Newcastle did not wait long to mount a come back, Freeman hit wide receiver Gavin Garner with a 43 yard touchdown pass to put Newcastle on the board. Racer defense obtained a stop and the offense took over. Freeman then hit wide receiver Brady Davis with a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie up the game going into halftime.
The momentum towards Newcastle continued in the third quarter as Freeman hit Bergt on a seven-yard touchdown pass but the extra point attempt was no good. Midway through the third, Weatherford turned a 25 yard pass into a touchdown and kicked a successful PAT to go ahead 21-20.
Newcastle’s Dakota Norman responded with a 1-yard run punched into the end zone followed by a two-point conversion to put Newcastle ahead 28-21. The Racers maintained their lead with two more touchdowns, one by Freeman and one by wide receiver Parker Bolles to take home the victory 42-21.
The Racers will return home to take on Anadarko on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"We will be celebrating football and band senior night at a pep rally on the football field Nov. 6 starting at 6:30 p.m. This is a change in how senior night has been traditionally done. It usually takes place before the game on Friday. We have decided to give this a try and make a tradition out of it," said Athletic Director Dale Berglan.
By Cody Johnson
The Newcastle Lady Racers' Fastpitch team took home the State title from Shawnee last Saturday in a 7-1 defeat of Fort Gibson.
"We played really well in September. We were 22-3 over the last 25 games," head coach Mike Crossley said.
The Lady Racers advanced out of district play easily by beating Classen at home. In Regional play, Newcastle handed Anadarko a 7-1 defeat in the first round. In the second round, Elk City posed more of a threat for the Lady Racers, but Newcastle pulled out a win by scoring two runs in the last inning. In the finals of regionals, Newcastle beat Blanchard the first game 12-2 but struggled in the second game eventually coming up with a win after scoring two in the last inning to advance to state.
"You can throw out all the records and rankings when you play Blanchard, because they are going to come at you hard," Crossley said. "It [being down 4-3 in the fifth inning] was kind of a blessing in disguise, because we had been preaching all year that both good and bad things are going to happen; you just have to stay tough and fight through it. It is a game of failure, so that helped us going into the state tournament."
In the first round of the state tournament, Newcastle played No. 3 ranked Tecumseh and defeated them 9-3.
"We swung the bat well against a really good pitcher," he said "because Emily (pitcher Emily Cerny) was a little beat up. She threw 21 innings on Tuesday, so the first two days of the tournament you could tell she was sore."
In the second round of the state tournament, the Lady Racers were set to face off against Hilldale who was the returning State Champions and graduated no seniors last year. With Cerny hurting and sore, ice baths and massages were given to Cerny to try and loosen her up.
"She slowly started to loosen up in the Hilldale game and was able to pull out the 5-4 win," he said. "It was an awfully big win."
The win propelled Newcastle into the state finals and into defeating Fort Gibson 3-0 for the State Title.
"We had a great state tournament, we really played well."
Mike Crossley commented that it was ironic they defeated Fort Gibson in his first state championship title because they are the team Newcastle lost to in his first state title game back in 1989.
"This really solidified our program, because we have been to state 22 times, and it was always 'you never won state,'" Crossley said. "Other people may have only gone to state two times over the last 27 years and may have won it. It was like yes you were good that one-year, but we have been good year after year after year. Winning the State Championship solidified our program. There are not a lot of teams in the state that can say they have been to state 22 times out of the last 27 years."
The Newcastle Racers defeated Clinton 41-7 last Friday extending their undefeated streak to seven when the Red Tornadoes whirled into town.
"We were behind the first quarter. It was a great test for us. Our kids responded to being down to a quality football team. The adversity of going against someone with tradition like Clinton and falling behind on the first play is tough," said head coach Keith Bolles. "The defense came off the field and no one was hanging their heads because everybody knew there were a lot more plays left in the game. That is one thing I am really proud of, they way they responded."
Clinton won the coin toss and elected to receive the football to start the game. After Newcastle downed their runner on the kickoff at the 30-yard line, the Red Tornadoes ran a 70-yard option to score the first touchdown of the game. With a successful point after touchdown (PAT) kick, those were the only points Clinton would put on the board for the game.
Newcastle's offense came back strong on their first possession but was unable to get into the red zone, however the Racers' defense shut down Clinton's offense from then on.
In the second quarter, senior quarterback Casey Freeman hit wide receiver Ben Persall on 56-yard touchdown pass to put the Racers on the score board and a PAT kick from Everett tied the game at 7-7. That was not the end of the quarter. Next Freeman hit wide receiver Gavin Garner and wide receiver Brady Davis with a 27-yard and 37-yard touchdown pass respectively. Two more PAT kicks from Everett put Newcastle ahead of Clinton 21-7. Before the half ended, Freeman hit Persall with another touchdown pass for 9 yards and another six for the Racers going into halftime.
The third quarter divided the teams even more with a five-yard quarterback draw by Freeman and a 71-yard run from senior running back Zach Bergt that put the Racers ahead 41-7. The fourth quarter was a draw for both teams offensively sending the Racers to 7-0 overall for the season and 4-0 in district play.
"Offensively, Casey had a great night throwing the ball and our receivers did a great job running their routes. It was the offensive line though that gave him time to throw," Bolles said. "Our defensive line played well against their offensive line and our linebackers played assignment football so after the first play it was a great night."
The Racers return to action on Friday when they travel to Weatherford for their district game at 7 p.m. No. 5 ranked Weatherford is currently 6-1 overall for the season and 4-0 in district play.
"I think it's a true testament to our district when we have three of the top five ranked teams in the state in our district so we going to play Weatherford this week, play Anadarko next week, finish up with Elgin and then get ready for the second part of our season," Bolles said.