Falkner eyeing division’s top threat

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

Falkner has had two weeks to think about its first loss of the season, a 34-26 setback at home against Vardaman in the Division 1-1A opener for both teams.
That is also plenty of time to forget about it and focus on tonight’s division matchup against visiting Coldwater and a quarterback Falkner coach Ben Ashley says is good – really good.
“Marcel Newson is the best in our league. Nobody is in the same category as that guy,” Ashley said. “He makes them go.”
Coldwater enters the game at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the division.
The Cougars like to run. They have rushed for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns and have passed only 12 times. Ashley considers Newson a big-time receiver playing quarterback, where he has rushed for 693 yards on 52 carries, 12 of those scores. He has returned three kicks for touchdowns.
Newson played receiver some last season before he was moved to quarterback.
Falkner won 15-14 there last season – somewhat unexpectedly. Newson missed the next three games for the Cougars and they went 0-3. Ashley said winning at home will take the same approach.
“Nobody in America thought we could win that game. We didn’t turn the ball over and played good defense,” Ashley said.
Falkner and Vardaman are still thought to be two top contenders in 1-1A and Vardaman is now 2-0 in division play following Friday’s win over Smithville.
Either could still win the regular season crown, but will have to keep winning if so.
Ashley obviously doesn’t plan to lose tonight, but if his team does, the four-team playoff setup eases the pain. When Ashley got into coaching 10 years ago, only two teams made the postseason.
“At the same time, it wouldn’t be the end of the world but it would definitely put us behind the 8-ball,” he said.
Falkner prides itself on the ground, too. Sophomore Jeramie Lawrence leads the way with 664 yards on 69 carries and 10 TDs. QBs Jase Stroupe and Tray Woody have more than 200 yards and have six combined TDs. Woody, a linebacker, leads the Eagles with 46 tackles.

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