For The Daily Item
Todd Rothermel may want to keep digging into his playbook for new wrinkles to throw at opposing defenses.
The Newport coach said that the Buffaloes opened the second half with a formation Line Mountain hadn’t seen and it is difficult to argue with the results.
The Buffaloes surged to a 17-14 win over Line Mountain in a Tri-Valley League battle of two former Line Mountain players-turned-coaches.
“(The formation) was something I’m sure took (Line Mountain) a little bit off-guard,” Rothermel said.
With a new look in the backfield, Mason Arbogast ran wild in the second half for Newport (3-2), helping the Buffaloes to take advantage of Line Mountain (1-4).
“Mason’s got great vision,” Rothermel said. “He’s a really good athlete and he made us look good.”
After taking a three-point lead into the break, Arbogast wasted little time after a pair of stalled drives opened the half.
The junior took a pitch from Marcus Jones, found a seam and outran the Line Mountain defense to give his team some breathing room. Arbogast finished the night with 131 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns when the Buffaloes needed a score.
The added cushion was critical in a game defined early by sloppy play from both teams.
Small miscues continued into the second half, giving Line Mountain a red zone opportunity without having to touch the ball. A snap bounced back to Tyler Fegley on a Newport punt started to shift the momentum.
Although Fegley was able to boot the ball away cleanly, the pressure from the Eagles forced a botched kick, giving the Eagles the ball at the six.
A Hunter Hojnacki touchdown run and a two-point conversion cut the lead to two and created a whole new ballgame after it appeared Newport was going to run away with a win.
The Buffaloes ran through Arbogast to answer the Eagles’ score with the junior reversing field and finding an extra gear for another touchdown.
Cory Warford brought his team within three on a five-yard touchdown, run but Line Mountain was unable to recover an onside kick after using each of its three timouts earlier in the half.
A lack of timeouts proved costly as Newport started to melt the clock with short runs to the sides to eat as much time as possible before being tackled inbounds.
With fourth-and-long and six ticks on the clock, Rothermel sent Arbogast in to line up as the punter. Line Mountain hadn’t been able to stop Arbogast in the second half and the result was no different on the final play as Arbogast wasted away the final few seconds.
Offensive miscues were the early story as an Eagles handoff deep in their own territory on the first offensive snap of the game was bobbled and recovered by the Buffaloes at the Eagles six.
“You get things going and then you have a penalty or a fumble. If you do those things, (a loss is) gonna to be the result on Friday nights,” Line Mountain coach Rodney Knock said. “You’re not gonna win football games.”
Although Newport could only manage a field goal from the turnover, the score established a theme of the Buffaloes coming away with important loose balls and stunting Line Mountain drives.