Football

Newsome takes down flag football state champ Alonso

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LITHIA — No doubt about it: Newsome’s flag football team is totally legit.

The Wolves raised their profile considerably Wednesday night in a Class 2A region semifinal with a 27-0 drubbing of perennial power Alonso, the reigning state champion before the pandemic shut everything down last season.

A few moments after the final horn sounded, third-year Newsome coach Justin Shive pointed across the field and gave Alonso credit for “setting the bar so high for all of us.”

“I modeled what we do after (Alonso), which means working extra hard and doing it all year,” Shive said. “Tonight we came in feeling confident because we have worked so hard. We believed we could do this.”

A good deal of the Wolves’ confidence comes from the athleticism of junior quarterback Devyn Silvestri, who is as elusive as her arm is strong. Silvestri put all of her tools on display, throwing four touchdowns of 1, 3, 16 and 25 yards, running for two extra points and intercepting two passes.

“We were ready to go from the first second to the last,” Silvestri said. “This is so huge for us and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

The region victory, in fact, was the first for a Newsome flag football team, which came into Wednesday with a 16-1 record, No. 2 ranking in 2A and No. 4 ranking in the nation by MaxPreps. Alonso entered 16-1, No. 3 in 2A and No. 6 in the country.

After a scoreless first quarter, it looked like it could go either way.

But in the second quarter it was Newsome that made the big plays, several on a 60-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jade Hickey.

Newsome freshman Emma Clough stretches for a touchdown on a 25-yard pass play. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

On the last play of the first half, the Wolves pulled off what arguably was the play of the game, a 25-yard touchdown pass to freshman Emma Clough, who barely stretched the ball over the goal line before getting her flag pulled.

“In this game, plays like that can make such a huge difference,” Shive said. “We kept making plays throughout the game and our confidence kept building.”

The third quarter was scoreless, but Newsome again controlled much of the clock with longer drives, including one right before the fourth quarter began.

Less than two minutes into the final quarter the Wolves’ struck again with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Hickey. Sophomore Kayla Ludwig drove in the final nails with a 40-yard reception, followed by a 1-yard touchdown catch.

The Wolves move on to the region final Monday against arch-rival Bloomingdale, which defeated Orlando Dr. Phillips 25-6.

In a regular-season matchup, Newsome defeated Bloomingdale 39-0, a score Shive quickly addressed.

“We are not going to take anything for granted,” Shive said. “No way.”

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