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Newberry loss stings as Indians enter bye week

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By Ryan Butler

Using a formula that has become emblematic of the Chiefland football program, the Newberry High School varsity football team literally and figuratively ran its way to a 16-7 victory on Oct. 5.
The loss puts Chiefland at a pivotal moment as it enters its bye week. The growing playoff hopes from the amazing season took a major hit. Chiefland has four games left. Three are against rivals Williston, Dixie County and Trenton. Two, more importantly, are in district (Dixie County and Baldwin).
“Of our next four games, three are against rivals and one is homecoming. If they can’t get up for that they don’t need to be playing football,” said head coach Aaron Richardson.
In order for the Indians to extend this amazing season, they’ll have to beat both Dixie County and Baldwin and then get some help.
Before that happens,  Chiefland has to address penalties and its running defense. Against arguably the best running team they have faced all season, Chiefland didn’t look as sharp as in the past.
“They really brought it to us and they exposed us up front,” Richardson said. “That was something we’d thought was a strength of ours.”
The Panthers dominated the second half of the game, not so much on the scoreboard but on the field. The Indians never had a chance to respond. They only ran five offensive plays in the second half. After picking off Chiefland’s James Corbin with over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Newberry converted three-consecutive third downs.
When Chiefland finally forced a fourth-down, the Panthers executed a fake punt/pass to perfection, shoving home the game’s final dagger and allowing them to run out the clock.
All season long Chiefland had used dominate running to wear down its opponents and take control of games by the fourth quarter. Against Newberry, Chiefland did it again. But Newberry did it better.
The Panthers continued to churn out yards , running with a host of talented tailbacks.
Ra’Kheem Hoyt was the most agitating. Chiefland fans started yelling out Newberry’s favorite play- toss to No. 4, with a cut back for four-to-seven yards. Chiefland’s players and coaches undoubtedly knew it too. It seemed there was nothing they could do to stop it. Using that same type of play, Hoyt took the toss and scurried into the endzone on a third-and-eight in the fourth quarter, putting his team up 16-7 and more importantly up two scores.
Newberry took the lead for the first time on a field goal with eight minutes left in the second quarter. The field goal, which put the Panthers up 9-7, followed a first-quarter touchdown by Tamarcus Faulkner, who also saw a lot of time in the Indians defensive backfield.
Chiefland’s only score game on the game’s opening drive. Capping off a 12-play, 12-run drive, Corbin ran into the endzone from two yards out, putting the Indians up 6-0. Jesus Hernandez added the extra point.