Grace Community graduated an all-state quarterback from last year's team. Based on the first game of the season, the new signal callers look ready to take over.
Junior quarterbacks Blake White and Garrett Newman combined for 221 yards through the air and 159 more on the ground to lead the Cougars to a 43-18 win over Winnsboro in the opening game of the Tyler Football Classic at T.K. Gorman’s McCallum Stadium.
Grace (1-0) topped the Red Raiders (0-1) to open the year for the second straight year. All Saints takes on Carrollton Christian today for the second game of the classic, with host T.K. Gorman facing Winona on Saturday in the finale.
White and Newman had the unenviable task of following Tayler Stanley, who passed for nearly 4,000 yards last year. The pair helped Grace total 432 yards of offense, showing the Cougars have no plans to slow down despite the loss of 18 seniors from last season's 9-2 squad.
White, who took the majority of the snaps, racked up 177 yards passing and 86 rushing. He opened the scoring with a 12-yard run early in the first quarter and added two touchdown passes.
Newman supplied 73 yards on the ground and went 5 for 6 passing for 44 yards, with a rushing and passing touchdown.
Grant Childress had 135 yards and a score on nine catches for Grace to lead all receivers.
Grace staked an early 8-0 lead thanks to a couple Winnsboro miscues.
With the jump start, the Cougar offense looked every bit as potent as in years past, when the team has been at or near the top of the East Texas offensive rankings.
A hook-and-ladder play gave Grace a 22-6 lead heading into halftime.
White threw an 11-yard pass to Statler Lewis, who pitched to the oncoming Kade Clayton, who took the ball the remaining 16 yards for a score with 10 seconds left in the first half.
The trick play capped a 68-yard, four-play drive that lasted 1:05 and came immediately after Winnsboro's first touchdown cut the lead to 15-6.
The Red Raiders, meanwhile, moved the ball well on the ground.
Winnsboro averaged 7.5 yards a carry against Grace's reworked linebacker corps, totaling 261 yards.
Junior quarterback Luke Tebbetts paced the Red Raiders with 129 yards on 15 carries. Tebbetts also threw for 63 yards and a score, but his highlight came on a dazzling 49-yard touchdown run during which half a dozen Cougar defenders missed their chance to tackle the elusive runner.
Tebbetts put a few balls on the ground, however. Grace recovered the only turnover of the game when Tebbetts fumbled the game’s first snap.
Childress pounced on the ball and White led the Cougars to the endzone five plays later, capped by his 12-yard keeper on fourth-and-2.
On the ensuing kickoff, Winnsboro's return man dropped the initial kick, which rolled into the endzone. The attempted kneel for a touchback instead netted Grace two points for a safety.
Grace made in 15-0 when White, at quarterback, pitched to Newman, who raced around the left edge and burst into the endzone from seven yards out.
Winnsboro's Dugan Winkle nearly had a long touchdown pass in the second quarter but for a last-ditch effort from the Cougars secondary, which forced a fumble that Winkle was able to recover for a 42-yard reception. That play allowed Brandon Greene to rumble in from four yards out two plays later with 1:22 left in the first half.
Winkle finished with 85 total yards. Greene churned out 60 yards and Chris Roberts caught a 21-yard touchdown for the Red Raiders.
Lewis, who finished second for Grace with 35 receiving yards, caught a touchdown pass — 15 yards from Newman — in addition to supplying the deft pitch for Clayton's run in. Clayton finished with 88 total yards, including a 3-yard run to end the scoring with 3:01 left in the game.
Grace Community 43, Winnsboro 18
Tyler Football Classic
At McCallum Stadium
Grace 8 14 7 14 — 43
Winnsboro 0 6 6 6 — 18
GRA—Blake White 12 run (Keaton Yeatts kick fail), 9:33.
GRA—Team safety, 9:28.
GRA—Garrett Newman 7 run (Yeatts kick), 4:48.
WIN—Brandon Greene 4 run (pass fali), 1:22.
GRA—Kade Clayton 16 run (Yeatts kick), 0:10.
GRA—Grant Childress 19 pass from White (Yeatts kick), 7:19.
WIN—Chris Roberts 21 pass from Luke Tebbetts (kick fail), 2:55.
GRA—Statler Lewis 15 pass from Newman (Yeatts kick), 11:53.
WIN—Tebbetts 49 run (run fail), 7:10.
GRA—Clayton 3 run (Yeatts kick), 3:01.
First Downs 21 15
Rushes-Yards 31-227 35-261
Passing Yards 221 63
Comp.-Att.-Int. 20-31-0 2-5-0
Punts-Avg. 0-0 1-34
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 5-1
Penalties-Yards 3-25 5-35
RUSHING—Grace, Blake White 9-86, Garrett Newman 11-73, Kade Clayton 8-50, Grant Childress 1-11, Jacob Spitzer 2-7. Winnsboro, Luke Tebbetts 15-129, Brandon Greene 9-60, Dugan Winkle 6-43, Chris Roberts 2-8, Nikolas Bullock 2-6, Will Villalobos 1-15.
PASSING—Grace, White 15-25-0—177, Newman 5-6-0—44. Winnsboro, Tebbetts 2-5-0—63.
RECEIVING—Grace, Childress 9-135, Statler Lewis 3-35, Newman 4-5, Kade Clayton 3-28, Keaton Yeatts 1-2. Winnsboro, Dugan Winkle 1-42, Roberts 1-21.