WAVERLY – Asa Newsom was on a mission.
Waterloo East keyed on Waverly-Shell Rock running back McCrae Hagarty all week during practice, and Newsom stepped up whenever his No. 23 was called.
It was called a lot.
The W-SR sophomore ran and ran and ran some more. By the time the rain came to a short standstill after the final horn sounded, Newsom had rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns to help the Go-Hawks to a 32-12 win over the Trojans on Friday at Go-Hawk Stadium.
“Every time I touch the ball, I try to turn it into gold,” said Newsom, who was 21 yards shy of tying the school record for rushing yards in a game set by Andrew Paulsen in 1993.
As if four straight days of rain wasn’t enough, the skies opened up again shortly after W-SR’s Jordan Bieneman booted the opening kickoff.
The monsoon was all but kind. Turnovers were plentiful. Go-Hawk Stadium, once pristine with freshly cut grass and a shiny coat of field paint, was turned into a slip ‘n slide in a matter of days.
No matter. The Go-Hawks (2-1) had the most fun.
W-SR dodged trouble after Donovan Wessel muffed a punt on East’s opening series. His teammates forced another punt, and Newsom cashed in.
On second-and-2 from his own 38-yard line, Newsom broke through the line, shoved a couple of Trojans’ defenders to the mud and ran 62 yards into the end zone for a 6-0 lead with 7 minutes, 11 seconds to play in the first quarter.
“They were really keying on McCrae, and that opened things up for Asa,” Go-Hawks head coach Mark Hubbard said. “… The downfield blocks (are) what springs some of those (runs) sometimes, so really just a great job all around in tough conditions.”
A week ago, against defending Class 2A state champion Waukon, nothing went right for W-SR. The run game never took off, which didn’t make the passing game any easier. A stingy run defense was overpowered.
No so much against the Trojans (0-3). After throwing his first interception of the season last week, first-year Go-Hawks quarterback Brady Ramker rebounded in his third career start. Ramker scored two touchdowns – both 1-yard sneaks – to widen the Go-Hawks’ lead.
Ramker’s first score came on the first play of the second quarter to cap a 10-play drive and give W-SR a 12-0 lead. But it was Ramker’s arm that set up his eventual touchdown run. Ramker completed converted two fourth-down passes on the drive – a 13-yard strike to junior tight end Layne McDonald and a 21-yard completion to Newsom – to push the Go-Hawks inside the Trojans’ 5-yard line.
The W-SR quarterback recorded his second touchdown of the night on the first drive of the second half. Newsom had runs of 10 and 23 yards in the series before Ramker took it in himself for a 19-0 lead with 8:50 remaining in the third.
“It was good for me, but also good for the backs to get it down the 1-yard line,” Ramker said of his scores. “It was really their touchdown. I just punched it in there. I guess it counts towards me, but it was really all them and the line.”
Newsom’s longest run of the evening came later on, a 75-yard run for a 25-0 advantage. Newsom’s career night featured 265 all-purpose yards.
“There was definitely a higher sense of urgency coming into this week, but we just did what we did,” he said. “We didn’t change anything. We just did what we did and came out here and did what we do.”
A year ago, Waterloo East running back Kjuan Owens ran for 115 yards and a touchdown in a 14-10 win over W-SR. The Trojans’ 6-foot, 262-pounder was held to just 77 yards rushing – 45 of those came on one play in the fourth quarter with the Go-Hawks leading 32-0.
“He’s big, and he just wears on you,” Hubbard said. “And you could see that as the game goes on, he’s still really strong. He’s a great player and (I’m) thankful that we were able to contain him for most of the night.”
Hagarty found the end zone with 9:15 left in regulation before Joseph Spates scored two late touchdowns for the Trojans.
Rain be darned, the Go-Hawks recovered from a humbling loss and got back on track.
“They got punched in the mouth at Waukon,” said Hubbard, “and were able to learn some things from that defeat and put together a good week of practice.”
W-SR 32, WATERLOO EAST 12
Waterloo East …………... 0 0 0 12 – 12
Waverly-Shell Rock …… 6 6 13 7 – 32
WSR: Newsom 62 run (Bieneman kick no good), 7:11.
WSR: Ramker 1 run (Ramker pass incomplete), 11:56.
WSR: Ramker 1 run (Bieneman kick), 8:50.
WSR: Newsom 75 run (D. Wessel run no good), 4:05.
WSR: Hagarty 2 run (Bieneman kick), 9:15.
WE: Spates 1 run (Spates pass incomplete), 5:19.
WE: Spates 2 run (Spates pass incomplete), 3:27.
Waterloo East: Owens 17-77, Willingham 4-55, Spates 12-38, Scott 4-11, Stigler 1-3, Thomas 1-(-3), TEAM 1-(-3). W-SR: Newsome 18-244, Hagarty 10-43, Kramer 1-2, Folkerts 1-2, Mwangi 2-1, Bibler 1-0, Halverson 3-(-8), Ramker 8-(-21), TEAM1-(-1).
Waterloo East: Thomas 1-3-0 10, Spates 0-5-0 0. W-SR: Ramker 4-6-0 65, Halverson 0-1-0 0.
Waterloo East: Owens 1-10. W-SR: McDonald 3-44, Newsom 1-21.