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Newport Makes First Round Comeback
11/7/2005 - by Seth Millhoan
The Newport Wildcats showed the determination they needed on Friday night against the Fleming County Panthers. Down thirteen points at the half, a little motivation was all they needed to advance in Kentucky's AA playoff bracket.

Ryne Wilfong was thrust in as the starting running back because Senior James Glenn was unavailable after a knee injury the previous week. Wilfong was held to under 20 yards in the first half and coughed up the pigskin once as well. The fumble lead to a Panther touchdown. Fleming's Jordan Fritz, Class AA's leading passer, was able to scamper in on a 1-yard TD run. The Panthers connected again when RB Adam Donovan scored from the 1-yard line again. That was all the scoring in the first half, not exactly what was expected.

The two teams came in averaging around 40 points a game, respectively. To see minimal offense and superb defense was not what everyone was expecting in the press box. A high scoring game was certainly not in the cards this night.

The team needed some sort of a lift after the half. Coach Schlarman must have struck a chord with his team. The Wildcats came ripe and ready to take on the folks from Flemingsburg in the second half. An impressive 90 yard drive to open up the 3rd was what the Wildcats were lacking in the 1st and 2nd quarters. Wilfong, a sophomore, was eager to redeem himself after the miserable first half. He did so when he finished the drive with a 5-yard TD run. Newport was able to take 6 minutes off the clock on the drive as well.

After a three and out, the Wildcats got the ball back. Another long, time consuming drive put Newport on top 14-13 when Greg Weisbrodt ran the ball in from 20 yards to end the third quarter.

Ryne Wilfong's most impressive play was on special teams. A punt that Wilfong put within the 5 yard line was errantly picked up by a Panther return man. When he ran baclwards into the endzone, he was doomed. The Wildcat punt team was able to pull him down in the endzone and force a safety, giving Newport a 16-13 lead. A self imposed safety by the Wildcats with around 20 seconds left made the score 16-15, a Newport winner.

Next week Newport (10-1) plays East Carter (8-3) in Newport, KY.
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