Newton High was honoring one of the top rushing teams in Cardinal history on Friday night at H.A. Lynn Stadium — the 1988 Class 4A state runner-up Cardinals (12-1).
It was only fitting the 2018 Cardinals rushed for 556 yards on 64 attempts. The Cardinals were able to offset 301 yards passing by visiting Grinnell’s Tigers and 213 yards of penalties to win 50-39.
“I’m proud of our kids. They found a way to win tonight,” Newton head coach Ed Ergenbright said. “Our defense got off the field and gave us the ball to make the plays. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties.”
The Cardinals and the Tigers went almost punch-for-punch in a scoring fest of a first half in their Class 3A District 7 contest. The Cardinals led 14-13 after one quarter and were up 35-27 at halftime.
Many games had their start times moved up because of pending severe weather on Friday. Newton and Grinnell were to kick off the varsity game at 5:15 p.m.
The teams left the field right after the National Anthem was played because of lighting. There was rain, thunder and lightning, which delayed the kickoff until 6:45 p.m.
Newton had a little of lightning of its own to get to the lead quick.
Newton had the opening kickoff and on the first offensive play of the game, junior Julian Hotchkin dashed 70 yards for a touchdown with sophomore Josh Meyer kicking the extra point.
The Tigers tried to answer but Newton’s defense forced an incomplete pass on a fourth down play. The Cardinals took over at their own 39-yard line.
A penalty and a quarterback sack by the Tigers halted Newton.
Following a punt, Grinnell set up shop at the Newton 48-yard line. Grinnell senior quarterback Drew Coffman went to the air and Newton was whistled for pass interference. Wyatt Hunter had three runs, the final one was for a TD from 12 yards out at the 7:27 mark of the first quarter.
After the extra-point kick, it was 7-7.
Two plays from the line of scrimmage for Newton had the Cardinals back in front. Junior Logan Cummins ripped off a 77-yard run to set up a 4-yard TD run by junior quarterback Kyle Long.
Newton was up 14-7, but not for long. Two minutes later using a 40-yard pass from Drew Coffman to Owen Coffman, the Tigers were threatening to score.
Runs by Drew Coffman and Hunter along with a penalty on Newton pushed the Tigers into the end zone. Drew Coffman scored from 1 yard out.
Newton blocked the first of two extra-point kicks. The Cardinals had a 14-13 lead and would never trail in the game.
“With the penalties it is frustrating but we just keep grinding,” Ergenbright said. “I was happy we were able to run power and sweeps effectively tonight.”
Newton used a steady diet of senior running back Josh Miller on its next possession. Miller, who led the Cardinals with 166 yards on 22 carries for the game, opened the drive with 16-yard run. Junior Dylan Farver came up with a big fourth-down carry to keep the drive going at the Grinnell 38-yard line.
When the second quarter began, Farver powered for 19 yards. Long capped the drive with his second TD quarterback keeper up the middle for a 5-yard TD run. Meyer’s kick put Newton up 21-13 with 11:08 on the clock.
Grinnell’s Drew Coffman completed three passes and ran three times including an 8-yard TD dash to answer the Cardinals. It was 21-20 at the 8:24 mark of the second quarter.
Miller again had six runs among the Cardinals’ 12-play drive as they took 5:30 to go 80 yards. Farver bulled over from 1-yard out with 2:50 left. It was 28-20.
The Tigers had lightning strike for them also. Drew Coffman and Tanner Strand connected for a pass play covering 74 yards. The touchdown pass came on the first play of the drive and Kyle Dillon’s kick kept the Tigers just one point down.
“We were calling plays on Grinnell’s defensive alignment. We could’ve thrown the ball but I didn’t want to give up the lead and we were moving the ball well on the ground,” Ergenbright said.
Long attempted three passes. The lone completion kicked off the Cardinals’ fifth TD drive of the first half as Long found Hotchkin for 21 yards. Then Miller, Farver and Long kept moving forward on runs.
“They (Grinnell) were blitzing a lot and it was easy to block them because they were running right into our blocking,” Newton senior offensive guard Ben Peterson said. “We just kept coming off the ball and running it right at them. We just have to communicate more and concentrate better to cut down on the penalties.”
Farver, who had 91 yards on 10 carries in the game, finished the drive on a 20-yard TD run. Meyer’s kick had Newton’s lead to 35-27 with 34.5 seconds left in the first half.
Back came the Tigers through the air. A 15-yard penalty on Newton had the Tigers at the Newton 15-yard line. A TD pass was negated because of offensive pass interference.
With 7.9 seconds on the clock, senior defensive end Mason Lee sacked Coffman. Coffman’s pass on the final play of the first half was incomplete.
“We just wanted to go out there and fight hard and not give up,” senior defensive back Reece Caves said. “We had a couple of bad games defensively and it was our moment to stand up and show who we are.”
Caves and the defense came right back out in the third quarter and forced Grinnell into a three-and-out situation. Newton drove the ball but Long fumbled it at the Grinnell 1-yard line. The Cardinal defense kept the Tigers pinned at the one.
On the punt, the snap sailed out of the back of the Grinnell end zone for a safety. Newton was up 37-27. Grinnell had a long TD pass negated with a penalty with 4:50 left in the third quarter. Coffman misfired three straight pass attempts and the Tigers had to punt the ball.
Miller had back-to-back runs for a total of 27 yards and Long added seven yards. Cummins, who finished with 132 yards on nine carries, had a 14-yard run. Farver made a cut to the outside and went untouched into the end zone from eight yards out.
The Cardinal lead was 44-27 with 2:29 left in the third quarter.
Grinnell took advantage of a pass interference call against Newton on third-down play to open the fourth quarter to keep a drive alive. Coffman found Strand for a 21-yard TD strike but the Cardinals blocked the extra-point kick. Newton led 44-33.
Newton had to punt the ball away after two penalties stalled its next drive. Coffman connected with Parker Johnson for a 47-yard pickup and Coffman scored on a 9-yard run. Down 44-39, the Tigers went with a 2-point pass conversion attempt which failed.
“The kids made a strong drive in the fourth quarter to secure the win for us,” Ergenbright said.
Newton went on a 10-play, 66-yard march using runs by Long and Cummins. Newton’s offensive line opened a hole for Long, who had 82 yards rushing, to go untouched on a 7-yard TD run with 1:28 remaining in the game.
Newton’s defense sacked Coffman to start the Tigers’ possession. It set the tone for the final minute of play because Hotchkin claimed an interception for Newton to seal the win.
“We figured out where everybody needs to be in running the defense. We need to keep playing hard and smart,” Caves said about the Cardinal defense.
Coffman finished with 301 yards passing going 10-of-21. He also had 79 of the Tigers’ 121 rushing yards. Newton sacked Coffman five times — Lee and Caves each had a solo sack. Seniors Thomas Cox and Jaise Gulling were credited with 1.5 sacks apiece.
Cox led the Newton defense with 10 solo tackles and four assisted tackles. Junior Jeremiah Johnson had five solo stops while Gulling had four solo tackles and four assisted tackles. Lee had four solo tackles and two assisted tackles.
Newton improved to 2-1 in 3A District 7 play and 4-3 overall. The Cardinals play at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at 3A fourth-ranked Pella (2-1, 6-1), which lost 36-35 in overtime to Oskaloosa last Friday.
“I told the team we’re going to practice hard, prepare really hard and go down there and try to pull off a big upset,” Ergenbright said. “We have two games together as a team remaining and we want to make the most of those opportunities as a team.”
Newton — Hotchkin 70 yd run (Meyer kick)
Grinnell — Hunter 12 yd run (Dillon kick)
Newton — Long 4 yd run (Meyer kick)
Grinnell — Coffman 1 yd run (kick blocked)
Newton — Long 5 yd run (Meyer kick)
Grinnell — Coffman 8 yd run (Dillon kick)
Newton — Farver 1 yd run (Meyer kick)
Grinnell — Strand 74 yd pass from Coffman (Dillon kick)
Newton — Farver 20 yd run (Meyer kick)
Newton — Safety — Grinnell snap out of back of end zone
Newton — Farver 9 yd run (Meyer kick)
Grinnell — Strand 21 yd pass from Coffman (kick blocked)
Grinnell — Coffman 9 yd run ( pass failed)
Newton — Long 7 yd run (pass failed) 1:28.
25 First Downs 22
64-556 Rushes-Yds 33-59
21 Passing Yds 301
577 Total Offense 360
1-3-0 Passing 10-21-1
2-1 Fumbles/lost 2-0
26-213 Penalties/yds 10-99
3-33 Punts/Avg 2-39
Rushing: Newton-Miller 22-166, Cummins 9-132, Farver 10-91, Long 17-82, Hotchkin 1-70, Cheng 4-16. Grinnell-Coffman 17-42, Hunter 10-27, Johnson 1-3, Lender 3-(-1), Strand 1-(-11).
Passing: Newton-Long 1-3-21-0. Grinnell-Coffman 10-21-301-1.
Receiving: Newton-Hotchkin 1-21. Grinnell-Strand 3-113, Durr 3-58, Johnson 2-65, Owen Coffman 1-40, Wilkins 1-25.
Punting: Newton-Leal 3-98 (32.7 yd avg.). Grinnell-Strand 2-79 (39.5 yd avg.).
Tackles (solos/assisted): Cox 10/4, Gulling 4/4, Johnson 5/0, Lee 4/2, Terpstra 3/1, Arguello 3/0, Hotchkin 2/0, Caves 1/1, Bartels 1/1, Winther 1/0, Iske 1/0, Davis 0/1, Romberg 0/1, Schroeder 0/1.
Quarterback sacks (solo/assist): Cox 1/1, Gulling 1/1, Lee 1/0, Caves 1/0.
Interceptions: Hotchkin 1.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org