By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – Was this a boxing or Lawrence Welk type night for the New Albany Bulldogs?
A one – Boston Newsome. And a two – O. J. Hardin.
The 1-2 punch of Newsome and Hardin helped the Bulldogs to a 34-0 victory over Indianola Gentry Friday in first round action of the Class 4A playoffs.
New Albany will host Louisville, which beat Corinth 42-19 on Friday, in the second round.
Newsome had 152 yards rushing and four touchdown runs and Hardin added 107 yards on the ground.
“We challenged the team all week, and the defense did a great job tonight,” New Albany head coach Ron Price said. “The offense was balanced.
“Boston had a great night, and it was nice to see O. J. get the yards he got.”
Price had to feel nice about the first offensive possession of the Bulldogs (8-4), which highlighted all aspects of what went right when New Albany had the football.
Newsome did the yeoman work, with six carries on a 13-play drive, capping it with a 1-yard plunge for a touchdown.
Hardin also had an 11-yard burst on that drive and quarterback Spencer Day had two completions, including a 19-yard strike into three-man coverage to J. T. Moore.
“The running game opens the passing game for our offense,” Price said.
“I had told O. J. on Monday he needed to be more of a part of the offense.
“He had been running with his head down, but he worked hard, got his head up tonight, and the offensive line put hats on hats.”
New Albany continued to grind out the possessions, scoring twice on its next three touches.
Newsome scored on a 6-yard run on the second play of the second quarter.
Then with less than a minute to play before the break, Day hit Jimmy Baldon for an 18-yard score.
New Albany iced the win in the third period on a pair of Newsome scores, a 9-yard touchdown run followed by a 19-yard jaunt into the end zone.
“We really have been taking this one game at a time,” Price said.
“At 8 a.m., we’ll focus on Louisville.”