Thursday, December 21, 2006

tre' newton, southlake's badass junior running back

Great article on Southlake Carroll's Tre' Newton. Southlake plays Austin Westlake in the Alamodome on Saturday for the 5A Div II state championship.
Southlake Carroll's man of the month - By Todd Wills / The Dallas Morning News

SOUTHLAKE – Tre' Newton's teammates at Southlake Carroll have taken to calling him "Mr. December."

The numbers show Newton's knack for increased production in the postseason, particularly as Carroll gets closer to the championship game.

Newton has rushed for more than 100 yards in five of his six December games in the last two seasons. All but one of the junior tailback's 100-yard games in the playoffs have come in December.

He'll have one more 2006 game in December – Saturday's Class 5A Division I championship against Austin Westlake.

Carroll coach Todd Dodge relies more on Newton as the weather turns colder. Newton has 30 or more carries in three of his 29 high school games. All of them have come in December.

"That's why we call him Mr. December around the fieldhouse," quarterback Riley Dodge said. "He really steps up for the team."

Newton seems to run with his shoulder pads a little lower in the playoffs, which helps him gain the tough yards. He is more elusive, and he has a nose for the end zone.

Newton has 30 career rushing touchdowns. Half of the TDs have come in the postseason, including nine in December.

"I just know that in the playoffs, if you lose you have to go home," Newton said. "That makes you play harder."

Newton had four 100-yard games before last year's state quarterfinal game against Plano last December, but he said that was his coming-of-age game. Plano played a cover-four zone to take away Carroll's vaunted passing game, putting the burden on Newton.

"If we were going to lose, we were going to let a sophomore beat us," said Lake Highlands coach Scott Smith, who was Plano's defensive coordinator last year.

Newton had 31 carries, more than double his career high. He had 143 yards and two second-half touchdowns and controlled the game in the fourth quarter as Carroll won, 37-27.

"That was the first game where Coach Dodge really put the ball in my hands," Newton said. "He let me do my thing."

Two weeks later, Newton rushed for 171 yards on 19 carries in a 34-20 victory over Katy in the state championship game.

It has been more of the same this December.

Newton was held under 100 yards in Carroll's first two playoff games – including a season-low 46 yards on 11 carries in Carroll's dramatic, 22-21 area-round victory over Euless Trinity. Back then, the calendar was still stuck in November.

Flip to Dec. 2, and Newton came alive for 198 yards and matched his career high with 31 carries in a 42-6 thrashing of Odessa Permian.

He had his best game in high school the next week against Colleyville Heritage with quarterback Riley Dodge still recovering from an ankle injury. Newton had career bests with 296 yards and 41 carries. He scored two touchdowns.

"Riley was a little banged-up, so I needed to come through," Newton said. "The offensive line did a great job as always."

Last week, in a 38-0 victory over Allen, Newton rushed for 130 yards and 16 carries. He also was a factor in the passing game as Carroll used a shovel pass it had put in the playbook that week. Newton had three receptions for 54 yards.

Newton said he is more experienced as a runner and a leader this season. That too has helped him earn his nickname.

"Tre' has carried us a little bit," Riley Dodge said. "That's the player we always knew he was."

Southlake Carroll junior tailback Tre' Newton has gone more than 100 yards in five of his six December playoff games. The rundown:
Date Opponent Att. Yds. TD
Dec. 3 Plano 31 143 2
Dec. 10 Lufkin 12 85 2
Dec. 17 Katy 19 171 0
Date Opponent Att. Yds. TD
Dec. 2 Odessa Permian 31 198 2
Dec. 9 Coll. Heritage 41 296 2
Dec. 16 Allen 16 130 1

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