By Jay Tidwell/Special to the Journal
NEW ALBANY – A trip to Jackson wasn’t needed to make this a perfect season.
An emotional year for New Albany came to an end on Friday with a 38-13 loss to Louisville in the second round of MHSAA Class 4A playoffs at Kitchens Field.
The Bulldogs committed to playing this season in memory of Amanda Price, the wife of head coach Ron Price who lost her life last December and who was an ardent supporter of the team.
“It’s hard, because we dedicated this season to Amanda, and said, ‘This one’s for you,’” said the coach afterwards, with tears streaming down his cheeks. “These seniors have been so special since the accident happened. This was their one shot to do it for her.
“I told the kids before the season started,” he continued, “that this will be the perfect season, no matter how it goes.”
It was indeed a memorable year for the Bulldogs, who clinched the Div. 2-4A championship by knocking off two-time state champion Lafayette and had a 2,000-yard rusher in Boston Newsome.
On Friday, New Albany (8-5) scored first, but was unable to overcome four second-quarter touchdowns by Louisville (9-4).
On the opening series, New Albany’s OJ Hardin intercepted a pass at midfield and Spencer Day followed it with a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Howard.
Wyatt Roberts helped Louisville respond with 35 unanswered points before halftime. The junior completed 8 of 12 for 235 yards and four TDs in the first half. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were troubled by turnovers.
Louisville drove 97 yards in eight plays for its first score, a 69-yard pass from Roberts to Dontae Jones.
The Wildcats took advantage of a botched snap on a punt at New Albany’s 39 and a fumble at its 19 to add two more TDs.
Louisville forced a turnover on downs deep in its territory, then went ahead 28-7 on an 82-yard pass by Roberts to Desmond Goss.
Another interception by Louisville set up a 21-yard toss from Roberts to Jones, who fought into the end zone as time expired to end the half.
Newsome, a senior, scored on a 7-yard run early in the fourth and finished with 26 carries for 125 yards, putting him at 2,038 for the season.
“I gave everything I’ve got,” Newsome said. “The motivation of Mrs. Amanda Price… beating the school record that I did last week… getting 2,000 yards like I did tonight. It’s all on the field.”