Newman’s drought in the bidistrict round of the state football playoffs is over.
After being eliminated in the first round the past three seasons, the fifth-seeded Greenies beat No. 12 Redemptorist 56-30 on Friday night at Lupin Field in a Division III select game.
The Greenies (10-1) will face Opelousas Catholic, which shut out Westminster Christian 49-0. The Vikings bounced Newman in the first round last year.
“It’s a big moment for us,” Newman coach Nelson Stewart said. “We challenged the kids all week. We felt it was going to be a physical football game early. The past few weeks we just said come out ready. This is not going to be a walkover.”
Kendall Bussey led Newman, which scored 35 third-quarter points, with 91 rushing yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns. Bussey left the game injured with 5:53 left in the third quarter. The Greenies accounted for 201 yards of total offense, while the Wolves had 188.
Redemptorist was led by Kaleb Battle, who finished with 96 rushing yards on 13 carries and had one touchdown.
“We knew (Redemptorist) was a young, talented football team,” Stewart said. “It’s a credit to our seniors. This was their goal.”
Despite Newman’s one-sided win, Redemptorist (2-9) ended the half trailing only 21-14. Newman scored quickly when senior quarterback Jay Tyler completed an 18-yard pass to Davis Charbonnet with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
Redemptorist got its first score when Michael Williams dashed in from 6 yards out with 11:51 left in the second. That play was set up in the first when Williams completed a 40-yard pass to Cameron Callihan.
“We knew we could get out here and play with anybody,” Redemptorist coach Terrence Williams said. “We come from one of the toughest 2A districts in the state. That prepared us to come out here.”
“We played well in the first half. We didn’t execute the way we needed to in the second half. Newman’s a great team, great program. They do a great job with their guys. They took it to us in the second half.”
Williams will lose 13 seniors, but said he is optimistic about next season.
“Our young guys will bounce back next year,” he said. “We’ll be ready to roll.”
The Greenies were not to be outdone with passing as Tyler completed a 51-yard pass to Elbert Thomas in the second quarter, which gave Newman a 21-14 lead at the half.
At halftime, Tyler threw for 49 yards and two touchdowns. For Redemptorist, Williams ran for 26 yards and one touchdown.
The Greenies quickly increased their lead in the second half, two touchdowns coming off Redemptorist miscues.