NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry College’s five offensive selections to the preseason All-South Atlantic Conference team has caught the attention of many players and coaches in the conference and region. Tonight, it was the Newberry defense that stepped up and allowed that high-octane offense only six points in 11 drives in Saturday night’s intersquad scrimmage at Setzler Field.
Fans who came for the flashy offensive show better have arrived early, as the first drive was the only one that produced points. The first-team offense, in white jerseys, marched 80 yards in 13 plays, capping the drive with a 21-yard pass from Josh Stepp (Pelion, S.C.) to Tymere Zimmerman (Bennettsville, S.C.). The second-string defense allowed no play longer than nine yards except for the touchdown.
Senior cornerback Donavin Fludd (James Island, S.C.) intercepted freshman Jare Gault’s third-down pass and took it back for what would have been a 28-yard return for touchdown. A clipping penalty at the 15-yard line nullified the score but gave the aggressive defense another reason to cheer.
Not only did the defense limit the offense to one touchdown and nearly scoring one itself, it allowed only one red zone opportunity and extinguished it. The final play of the night saw linebacker Devon Smalls (Charleston, S.C.) stop running back Hal Clary (Newberry, S.C.) on fourth-and-one on the 16-yard line.
Stepp’s day was a relatively short one, playing in only four drives. He attempted 15 passes, completing 10 for 79 yards. The speedy junior ran three times for 18 yards as well. Gault (Jonesville, S.C.) was two-for-eight with an interception, but he did record the longest play of the day, a 37-yard sideline route to senior receiver Teddy Bruton (Spartanburg, S.C.).
The true freshman performance of the day had to come from Damarcus Jones (Columbia, S.C.). He led all backs in rushing yardage (44 yards on six carries) including runs of 20 and 15 yards. Safety Derrell Mills (Gray Court, S.C.) could claim runner-up, as he had a hand in several tackles including a bone-jarring hit on senior receiver Joe Don Reames (Seneca, S.C.).
The receiving corps was led by Zimmerman, who caught five passes for 53 yards and a score. Mazzie Drummond (Greer, S.C.) and Antwan Surratt (Spartanburg, S.C.) caught a couple passes apiece for 10 and 14 yards, respectively. Robert Wells (Cayce, S.C.), Bruton, Charles Brandon (Union, S.C.) and Reames each caught one ball.
The season opener for the Indians is September 3 at home against Virginia Union University. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.