ARLINGTON — There's a first time for everything. This first was very special for Wildcats head coach Whitney Keeling as he led Waskom to the school's first state football championship.
Waskom, behind Offensive MVP Kevin Johnson and Defensive MVP Chan Amie, scored a 41-22 victory over Newton on Thursday in the Class 3A Division II state title game at AT&T Stadium.
The Wildcats (15-1) finished the season with 15 consecutive victories after losing their non-district opener to Class 4A Center. They were playing in the school's first state final.
Amie earned the top award on defense compiling 14 tackles (4 solo). Also, Amie's 88-yard kickoff return for a TD gave Waskom a 13-8 lead that the Wildcats never relinquished.
"I'm so proud of this team and how we played tonight on offense, defense, and special teams," Keeling said. "This was probably the best game we've played all year."
The Wildcats led Newton 20-8 at halftime. Toward the end of the third quarter, Waskom was leading 34-15. The Wildcats then went on a seven-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off by Junebug Johnson's 1-yard TD run. He finished the game with 92 yards and a TD on eight carries. Dillon Benton rushed six times for 70 yards and scored the game's first touchdown on a 51-yard run.
Trace Carter also scored on a 2-yard dash for the Wildcats.
Waskom gained 350 yards rushing on 46 attempts and didn't attempt a pass. Kevin Johnson led the Wildcats in rushing with 106 yards on 11 carries.
Calum Foster led Newton with 119 yards and a score on 19 carries and his teammate Gabe Foster finished with 85 total yards (43 receiving and 42 rushing) for the Eagles who ended their season with a record of 12-4.
The touchdowns for Newton came on 8-yard runs by Calum Foster and Gabe Foster and a 43-yard pass from Roney Elam to Gabe Foster.
Calum Foster's touchdown run was followed by a two-point pass from Elam to Tanner Holmes, giving the Eagles a brief 8-7 lead before Amie followed with the kickoff return for a touchdown.
Newton was limited to 259 total yards and 216 yards rushing after coming into the game averaging 387.3 total yards a game, 340.3 rushing.
Elam, a senior quarterback-defensive back who has committed to play for Texas A&M, was 1 for 2 passing for 43 yards and also completed the two-point pass.
Newton was playing in its fifth state final. The Eagles won state titles in 1974, 1998 and 2005. They came in the championship game on an 11-game winning streak after opening the season 1-3, all five of their non-district games played against 4A competition.