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2014 Newton Braves Football Preview

In ‘09 the Braves were 2/8.
In ‘10 they were 3/7.
In ‘11 they were 3/7.
In ‘12 they were 2/8.
…THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED…
In 2013 they went 5/6!!!
What’s going to happen in 2014…?

They went to the second round of the playoffs, and hosted a post-season game for the first time in 23 years. They beat Lenape Valley in the regular season for the first time since 2000, then for the second time in playoffs. Was it the draw of the 2012-completed turf field? The effect of Coach Rabbitt’s four years in the program? Or chemistry between talented seniors and a junior quarterback? Whatever the reason, the 2013 team walked onto the field in September and changed the way people think about Newton and high school football in Sussex County. And they’ve got the goods to keep that opinion going.

Best Attribute
Nick Grant, the returning senior quarterback. There’s something very cool about a high school QB that can hit and take a hit, throw and intercept pass…and did we see him on special teams too? And he’s not without help. RB/LB Steven Papis and RB/LB Ben Sibblies are back after a solid 2013 season.

Other Key Contributors
OL/DL Marko Curovic
SE/DB Sharone Brown
OL/DL Phil Haines
OL/DL Alex Van Ness
OL/DL Tyler Pittenger

A Look Back at 2013
The Braves lost RB Ben Cramer for the Dover and Madison games, and they suffered. Steven Papis and Ben Sibblies have monster-sized cleats to fill in order to get Cramer-level productivity. Against Madison, the Braves struggled to keep contain on the run. Against Jefferson, the Braves fumbled on the first drive in the red zone, which killed their momentum. They had trouble putting pressure on Reese, and Jefferson pulled away in the second half, outplaying the Braves. This was a tough game, and brutal loss, but the Braves rallied against Hanover Park in game three.

Must-See Game
Newton/Hanover Park was a great match-up last year, and HP will bring it to Newton after the 2013 final score of 13-6, Newton. Another win for the Braves will set them up well for the tough teams they’ll see later in the season. But I’m circling the Mo Beard match-up, Newton’s first home game, because I want to see Newton flexing it’s newly-defined home field muscle (9/19, 7PM, Newton).

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