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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Wildcats end season 0-10

  • The Newcastle Racers took advantage of a strong south wind Friday night to beat the Bethel Wildcats, 37-7.
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  • The Newcastle Racers took advantage of a strong south wind Friday night to beat the Bethel Wildcats, 37-7.
     
    Newcastle won the toss and elected to defend the south end zone, a decision that ensured Bethel (0-10 overall, 0-6 District 3A-3) would receive the ball at the beginning of each half. The strategy paid off for the Racers (7-3, 5-1).
     
    Bethel went three-and-out on its first possession after losing 10 yards in three plays. Bethel's Caleb Smith managed a 22-yard punt into the strong wind, and Newcastle began its first possession at the Bethel 32, scoring three plays later on a 12-yard run by BK Smith.
     
    Bethel lost 17 yards on its next possession and faced a fourth-and-27 punting situation from its own 3. The result was worse this time for Smith. His punt went straight up into the wind, then sailed into the back of the Bethel end zone, resulting in a safety and two points for Newcastle.
     
    After the free kick, the Racers marched 48 yards in 10 plays before attempting a 24-yard field goal. Bethel senior Travis Sullivan blocked the kick, ending the scoring threat.
     
    It appeared Bethel would again punt into the wind after its third three-and-out of the quarter, but Bethel coach Jason Madonna dialed up a fake punt, and Smith found a streaking Ethan Brewer open for a 25-yard completion and a first down. The drive stalled three plays later, and Smith once again was forced to punt, but this time he had the wind at his back. The result was similar to the first quarter, however, as the punt sailed out of bounds and covered only 4 yards.
     
    The Racers put together another long drive, but the Wildcat defense forced a turnover on downs inside their 10-yard line.
     
    Smith's next punt sailed 57 yards, and Newcastle was forced to play on a long field finally. The Racers needed only two plays, however, as quarterback Casey Freeman ran for 32 and Smith scored on a 20-yard run the next play.
     
    The Racers got one more possession before intermission and scored with 20 seconds remaining on a 5-yard pass from Freeman to Shelton Johnson.
     
    The halftime stats revealed the domination by the Racers. Bethel was limited to minus-25 yards rushing on 15 attempts, netting 21 yards of total offense on 26 plays while the Racers had 207 yards of total offense on 30 plays.
     
    The Wildcats opened the second half with an impressive nine-play drive, but once again stalled at midfield. The Racers answered with their final scoring drive as Smith scored his third touchdown of the night on a 15-yard run.
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    Colton Carter returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards, but fumbled the ball away.
     
    Newcastle then emptied its bench with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
     
    The rest of the game featured hard running by Bethel junior Landon Perry. Perry finished the game with 17 carries for 82 yards.
     
    Bethel quarterback Caleb Smith seemed to have captured the attention of the Newcastle coaches as it seemed the defensive effort was designed around stopping him. He finished with 37 rushing yards on 22 attempts.
     
    Perry reached the end zone with 24 seconds remaining in the game on a 1-yard dive.
     
    Ruth King added the extra point to close the scoring.
     
    Another bright spot in the game was an interception by Bethel's Cody Curry that ended a final scoring threat by Newcastle.
     
    Bethel finished 0-10 for the first time since 1995, but Madonna remained positive after the long season.
     
    "It was a tough season,” he said. “We had a great group of young men. I couldn't be prouder of them for sticking together."

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