In year’s past fans tried to gauge the Newport Greyhound run into the playoffs by judging the non-conference schedule.

In 2009, fans are hoping the non-conference slate means exactly what coaches always say it means: nothing.

In year’s past fans tried to gauge the Newport Greyhound run into the playoffs by judging the non-conference schedule.
In 2009, fans are hoping the non-conference slate means exactly what coaches always say it means: nothing.
The Greyhounds closed out their final non-conference game Friday night with their Greyhound Field debut and came away with a 28-14 loss to fall to 0-3.
However, as coaches often preach, those first games prepare you for the second season - conference.
A re-energized and refocused Greyhound squad fell behind early yet refused to falter against the Yellowjackets battling to the end of the 28-14 defeat.
Newport fell behind early - very early - when quarterback Ryan McGaughey’s pass attempt on the game’s first play from scrimmage was intercepted by Wynne’s Josh Purnell and returned 28-yards for a Yellowjacket touchdown.  The point after was good for an early 7-0 lead.
The teams exchanged punts throughout the end of the first quarter before Newport struck midway through the second frame.
A 30-yard punt return by Artez Brown set the Hounds up at the Wynne 25-yard line to begin their drive.  Five plays later Brown burst in from the three-yard line to trim the lead to 7-6 as McGaughey’s PAT attempt was no good.
Wynne wasted little time answering the Newport scoring drive as they put together a nine-play, 64-yard drive that had a 42-yard scoring run called back due to penalty.  Grant Smith executed a three-yard quarterback keeper to put the ball in the end zone for the Yellowjackets who extended their lead to 14-6 following the point after.
The Yellowjackets returned the second half kickoff to their own 47-yard line and received help from a late hit by the Hounds to begin their opening drive of the second half at the Newport 42-yard line.  Five plays later Wynne added a seven-yard scoring run and PAT to push the lead to 21-6.
Smith added a fourth-quarter touchdown run for the Yellowjackets to put the game away at 28-6, before Newport’s Robbie Balentine appeared to cut into the lead quickly on the ensuing kickoff as he broke out of a pack deep in Greyhound territory and raced 90 yards for the score only to have it called back due to penalty.
Newport managed to regain their composure and put together a nine-play, 53-yard drive capped off by Brown’s five-yard scoring run.  McGaughey scored on the two-point conversion for the final margin.
Senior Darrion Watkins led the Newport offense with 113 yards on 17 carries, while Brown added 94 yards on 19 totes.  McGaughey added 67 yards on 15 carries.
Sophomore R.J. Rucker led the Newport defense with 12 tackles, while senior defensive end Joe Hardin added nine.  Baletine chipped in with six, while Artez Brown, Devante Neal and Austin Pry had five stops each.
Newport will begin their second season tomorrow night at Highland as they open conference play.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.