Newcastle loses season opener, 41-7, to Tuttle
The Newcastle Racers football team lost its 2018 season opener, 41-7, at home against the Tuttle Tigers last Thursday night.
Racer fans were hoping for a different result than last year, when Newcastle lost at Tuttle, 55-27. But, that wasn’t the case this season.
Tuttle quarterback Carson Berryhill was a stalwart for the Tigers. He completed 16 of 19 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He also had one rushing touchdown.
Tuttle seemed to be going through the motions all night long. There was nothing spectacular about their performance. They simply just took care of business.
The Racers, however, found out that their defense isn’t much better than last year’s team – at least not right now. A year ago, the Racers allowed 47.5 points per game.
The Tigers usually rely on a run-oriented attack. They’re a team usually built on power. However, this season (with a new quarterback who was reared in a passing offense) lent itself to some experimentation in the season opener.
“I thought he ran the offense well,” Tuttle coach Brad Ballard said of Berryhill to The Daily Oklahoman. “He let the game come to him. I think that’s important. It shows he’s a year further down the road maturity wise. He took what they gave him and when he had a chance to go over the top he did.”
Tuttle scored on its first two drives. A 3-yard run by Grant Polson on the opening drive was followed by Berryhill’s first touchdown pass - a 27-yard strike to Parker Ross after a short punt by Newcastle. It was a quick 13-0 advantage for Tuttle after the first quarter.
Newcastle had a couple of drives worth bragging about – especially in the third quarter. Quarterback Chase Fox (who passed for 23 yards as the starter) got the Racers down to the Tuttle 5-yard line. But, on fourthand-5, he ran a couple of yards and fell short of the goal line.
Berryhill scored on a 13-yard run to open the
third. Then, Tuttle put the icing on its own cake. In just three plays, the Tigers covered 93 yards in just 34 seconds to make it 34-0 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers scored again with 10:00 left in the fourth quarter for their final score before calling off the dogs and inserting the reserves.
Solomon Granger scored the Racers’ only touchdown of the game. With 7:35 left in the fourth quarter, he darted and scooted 20 yards toward the right side of the south goal line for Newcastle’s only touchdown.
“We just made a bunch of mental mistakes,” said Granger, who finished the contest with 88 yards rushing on 18 carries. “We defeated ourselves. We’ve got to work on that this week. On the first two possessions on defense, we just weren’t ready. We’ve got to correct that. We’ve got to get it into our heads that we can do it.”
›Granger was proud of the way he played. He’s optimistic the Racers can change their ways.
“I felt great tonight,” Granger said. “It made me feel proud to run behind my linemen like that. We work hard every week in practice. It’s just really special to see us work together like that. It was good for us to play a tough opponent first. It tells us how far we need to go to get to where we want to be.”
“Tuttle is a different team and they throw the ball a lot more than they did a year ago.They have a talented quarterback who’s older and they put a lot of trust in him. They were more physical last year in running the football. But, we just made too many mistakes to win this game. Plus, they didn’t make hardly any mistakes. We certainly didn’t help ourselves putting us
in that early hole, going down 13-0.”
Fox seconded Granger’s opinion that Newcastle made “a lot of mental mistakes,” he said. “We made a lot of false starts and stuff,” said Fox, who threw for 23 yards against Tuttle.
“We’ve got to get that right in practice,” he said. “We could have moved the ball better. They are a good team, though. Things just didn’t go our way tonight. We still need to work on special teams because that can help in the games. We’ve also got to work on tackling. I just need to throw and catch with my teammates more. I need to be more of leader.”
Second-year Newcastle head coach Jeff Brickman said the Racers did well in stopping the run as the Racers held Tuttle to just two rushing yards. But, it was the passing of Berry-hill that made the difference.
“I thought we did well in stopping the run,” Brick-man said. “We made too many mistakes at the end. We made mistakes on special teams. We came here to do a job and we’re going to get it done. I hope it’s sooner than later. All we can do is show the kids what they’ve done on film and give them another opportunity. If they do the same mistake, then we’ll have to find another kid who can do it.”
Brickman was disappointed in the loss. But, he was willing to go easy on his team after the first game of the season.
“It was one of those games that seemed like it was not easy for us offensively,” Brickman said. “They were a really good defensive team. It seemed everything we got was either by diving or catching the ball on our hip. We’d get a penalty sometimes, too. It was tough sledding all night.
“Plus, we’re trying to break in two sophomore quarterbacks. There will be some growing pains with that. In the end, it will help those guys out to get that experience. When you get out there as a sophomore in front of a crowd, things tend to speed up on you. We can’t make those guys older than they are. They’re both very talented and I know with time they’re going to pick it up. We just have to keep being positive with them.
The Tigers were 6-5 last year and lost to Heritage Hall, 55-21, in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. While Brickman acknowledged that, he was quick to point out that his team still made too many mistakes to care of business.
“Tuttle is a different team and they throw the ball a lot more than they did a year ago,” Brickman said. “They have a talented quarterback who’s older and they put a lot of trust in him. They were more physical last year in running the football. But, we just made too many mistakes to win this game. Plus, they didn’t make hardly any mistakes. We certainly didn’t help ourselves putting us in that early hole, going down 13-0.”
The Racers host the Noble Bears tonight (Aug. 30) at 7 p.m. Noble is a Class 5A team and went 10-3 last season before losing to Bishop McGuiness, 38-10, in the third round of the playoffs. It will be the season opener for the Bears.