NEWARK – After suffering its first loss in humbling fashion a week ago, Newark High rebounded with a 38-27 Flight A victory over A.I. du Pont Friday night.
“We wanted to bounce back,” said receiver Peter Suski of the Yellowjackets’ crushing defeat last week at William Penn. “We took it like a punch in the face and wanted to give A.I. what we felt, and I think we came out here and did that.”
Suski caught a pair of Ben Campbell’s three touchdown passes, Darryl Chambers moved back to halfback and rushed for 73 yards and fullback Joe Burton helped drain the clock with his bullish running and final touchdown for Newark (5-1, 4-1).
“I think we’re happy,” said Burton, whom coach Butch Simpson calls his first big running back in his 39 years coaching at Newark. “But we know there’s a lot of things we need to fix.”
And while a loss to a strong Tigers team (3-3, 2-2) might have signaled an end to playoff hopes, Burton says the ‘Jackets aren’t thinking that way.
“After last year, when we were 3-7, our senior class just wanted to come out here and just take it one game at the time.”
Newark scored two touchdowns in the final 1:58 of the first half to turn a deadlock into a 28-14 lead. Controlling the clock on the ground with long drives in the second half and Burton’s 1-yard score cinched the win.
The Yellowjackets took their time going 57 yards in seven plays plus a facemask penalty to go ahead 14-7 in the second quarter on Campbell’s 1-yard keeper. The march took four methodical minutes. The next drive was a bit quicker.
Derrick Gill’s punt return for 29 yards put Newark on the A.I. 34 with 42.1 seconds remaining. The ‘Jackets squeezed seven plays into those precious seconds to distort how closely played the first half had been. Campbell rolled to his left and lofted a pass to the deep left corner of the end zone, where Chambers waited. Despite being bumped by the Tigers defender, Chambers hauled in the pass and kept both feet in bounds for the score, with a half-second to spare.
A.I. du Pont had opened the scoring following Quadree Henderson’s interception at the Newark 37. Four plays later, Freddie Heard found Taylor Edwards wide open in a short curl to the middle and the receiver found a clear path straight ahead to the end zone with 5:58 left in the first quarter.
Newark bounced back for a 14-7 lead on a pair of Campbell-to-Suski hookups. On the first, a fourth-and-4 play, Suski went up the right sideline, turned at the last second and still had the presence to snag the ball in double coverage. He split the defenders at the 20 and went the rest of the way for a 45-yard score. On the second, the 5-foot-9 receiver went over the middle and leaped high to haul in a one-handed TD from four yards out.
“Pretty incredible, isn’t he,” said Simpson, who called this an introspective week for his players. “The point of emphasis for any receiver is to make the routine catch and then throw in a couple of great ones. And he threw in a couple of great ones tonight. He played good last year, and this year, Ben Campbell is pretty much on top of his game and he’s able to get the ball to our receivers and they’re making plays.”
Jordan Haynes had those same outstanding plays for A.I. du Pont, as the versatile player caught a 21-yard TD pass, intercepted Campbell at the goal line and returned a kickoff 87 yards to set up the Tigers’ final score.