NEWTON — For most of the first half of Friday's game against powerhouse Newton, the Burlington High School football team looked like, well, world beaters.

The Grayhounds could seemingly do no wrong in the first quarter, and held the Cardinals in check until late in the second quarter.

But Newton simply wore the Grayhounds down and wore them out in the second half, controlling the ball with their misdirection offense and pulling away for a 47-26 victory at H.A. Lynn Stadium.

For the fourth time in as many weeks, the Grayhounds showed they can play with anybody. Now, if they can figure out a way to get their defense off the field and minimize their mistakes.

BHS coach Zach Shay couldn't help but be proud of the effort his team put forth.

"We were shutting them down," Shay said. "As the game wore on, you could see us get tired. That's what that offense does to you — it just wears you down. They just keep pounding it and pounding it and pounding it. If you read your keys at the beginning, it starts to wear on you and you start to lose focus. That's what happened toward the end. This game ... I knew it was going to be tough. I'm really proud of our guys, the effort that they gave. We looked much better offensively. I thought we ha da good game plan. I feel good about our effort tonight."

BHS (0-4) took the opening kickoff and drove straight down the field, marching 91 yards on seven plays before senior quarterback L.T. Beck barreled in from a yard out.

Just 2 minutes, 36 seconds into the game, the Grayhounds had a 6-0 lead against a stunned Newton team and an overflow crown on Homecoming night.

BHS held Newton (4-0) scoreless for the first 12:52 and kept the Cardinals' high-powered offense in check and out of the end zone until midway through the second quarter.

A coffin-corner punt by Newton's Garrett Sturtz pinned the Grayhounds at their own 2 late in the first quarter and flipped the field.

Newton capitalized on the Grayhounds' next possession. Grayson Graham stepped in front of a Beck pass intended for Mason Leinbach, picking it off and returning it 43 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals the lead for good.

After a 26-yard scoring run by Aaron Bartels on Newton's next possession, BHS drove 68 yards in eight plays before Beck connected with James McCann on a 2-yard scoring pass to bring the Grayhounds within 14-12 with 3:14 left in the half.

The backbreaker came 40 seconds later as Josh Miller broke off right tackle and scampered 67 yards for a score.

Just like that, Newton had a 21-12 lead and all the momentum heading into halftime.

Newton simply owned the second half. The Cardinals held the ball for a whopping 17:26 of the final 24 minutes, piling up a whopping 326 yards against a BHS defense that was gassed. The Cardinals ran 44 plays and converted all six third downs after halftime.

"Part of that is our defense. We couldn't get a stop," Shay said. "Eight yards here, seven yards there. They just sustain the drive and then they wore us down."

Newton took the second-half kickoff and drove 65 yards in eight plays before Sturtz scored on a 9-yard run.

Newton would find the end zone on four of its five second-half possessions. Three Cardinals — Miller (nine carries, 168 yards), Sturtz (16-123) and Josh Miravalles (17-104) — rushed for over 100 yards.

"They score the first drive of the second half. Then they scored the second time," Shay said. "Then it kind of takes the air out of your sails a little bit."

BHS kept coming back. Taven Harris, who rushed for a season-high 134 yards on 19 carries, scored on an 11-yard run in the third quarter and Beck broke loose on a 60-yard scoring jaunt midway through the fourth quarter to close the scoring.

"Taven Harris has really come into his own," Shay said. "Early on I kept thinking he was feeling out playing varsity football. Right now he's come into his own and he's running the ball really hard."

BHS plays Cedar Rapids Kennedy in its Homecoming game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bracewell Stadium.

The Grayhounds may be 0-4, but Shay is pleased with the effort and progress his team is making.

"I think our guys gave a great effort. It just comes down to that conditioning part toward the end. We've been trying to work on that,' Shay said. "They're not quitting. I told them I'm proud of their effort. Keep grinding. It's going to be a long season. At the end of the day, district play starts next week. I know we're facing a giant, but we're 0-0 right now. These games don't really count."

Newton won the freshman game, 50-15. Dontarius Sawyer scored on passes of 42 and 41 yards from Trenton Gebhardt for the Grayhounds. Mark Smith scored on a two-point conversion for the Graypups. 


First downs;19;27


Passing yards;180;31


Total offense;390;523




3rd Down Efficiency;2-6;7-11

4th Down Efficiency;0-4;1-2

Time of possession;12:34;37:26

Scoring by quarters




B—L.T. Beck 1 run (kick failed)

N—Grayson Graham 43 int. return (Zachary Combs kick)

N—Aaron Bartels 26 run (Combs kick)

B—James McCann 2 pass from Beck (pass failed)

N—Josh Miller 67 run (Combs kick)

N—Garrett Sturtz 9 run (Combs kick)

N—Jaron Roush 26 pass from Sturtz (kick failed)

B—Taven Harris 11 run (Beck pass to Mason Leinbach)

N—Miller 25 run (pass failed)

N—Josh Miravalles 2 run (Combs kicK)

B—Beck 60 run (pass failed)

Individual statistics

RUSHING: Burlington — Harris 19-134, Beck 5-63, Tykel Gordon 6-33, Team 1-(-22). Newton — Miller 9-168, Sturtz 16-123, Miravalles 17-104, Roush 9-62, Bartels 9-36, Logan Cummins 3-9, Team 4-(-20).

PASSING: Burlington — Beck 9-16-2-157, Leinbach 1-1-0-23. Newton — Sturtz 3-7-0-31.

RECEIVING: Burlington — Harris 2-49, Everett Willson 3-44, Reese Wissinger 1-43, P.J. Jones 2-31, McCann 2-13. Newton — Roush 1-26, Bartels 1-10, Miravalles 1-(-5).