The Newport Greyhounds took their undefeated 2-0 mark on the road for the first time in 2012 and for a half they seemed well on their way to continuing their perfect start.
The Greyhound defense shut down the Sylvan Hills Bears 14-0 in the first half limiting them to 33 yards of total offense in the game's first 24 minutes. However in a tale of two halves, a quarterback switch to start the second half sparked the Bears offense as they rattled off 17 unanswered points to knock off the Greyhounds 17-14 in the non-conference finale for both schools. The quick-strike Hound offense showed up early as junior Kristen Crite took the opening kickoff at his own 15-yard line, raced up the middle up the field, cut left in Bear territory and raced into the end zone for a 6-0 lead 12 seconds into the contest. The point after attempt was no good. The defenses settled in after the opening kickoff as they forced five consecutive possessions to end in punts before the teams exchanged turnovers. Newport gave the ball away on a fumble on the first play of the second half before Greyhound defensive back Shufon Alcorn got the ball back on a leaping interception. Alcorn's pick set up the Newport offense for their final drive of the first half capped off by a Carl Turner 9-yard touchdown run. Turner broke two tackles in the backfield before breaking free for the score. Quarterback Gunnar Bullard found Crite for a successful two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead heading into halftime. With the switch at quarterback, the Bears turned to a ball control offense in the second half as they limited the explosive Greyhound offense to only three possessions. Sylvan Hills opened the second half with a 10-play, 73-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard scoring run to get the Bears on the scoreboard. Their PAT attempt was wide right as the Greyhounds held a 14-6 advantage. Newport's ensuing possession began at the Sylvan Hills 47-yard line following a failed onside kick attempt and the Greyhound offense marched the ball inside the red zone. However, a Newport fumble at the Bear 11-yard line thwarted the scoring chance. Three plays later, the Bears had tied the score following a 54-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion. Following a Newport punt on their next possession, the Bears drove the ball down the field to set up a 34-yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead. The Newport offense responded with a drive to midfield, but turned the ball over on downs allowing the Bears to run out the clock and hold on for the win. Offensively, Turner, the freshman tailback, led the way with 128 yards rushing on 21 carries and a score. Alcorn had 37 yards on 9 totes while Bullard added 30 yards on 6 carries. Crite carried the ball 4 times for 13 yards as Denver Smith had 2 yards on 1 carry. Bullard was 7-10 passing for only 17 yards. Turner had 3 catches for 18 yards, Garrett Smith had 2 catches for -2 yards, Crite had 1 catch for 2 yards and right guard Maurice Killingsworth collected a tipped pass for a loss of 1. The Newport defense, which limited Sylvan Hills to only 211 yards of total offense, was led by junior defensive end Ramiro Macias who had 8 tackles - including 2 tackles for loss. Crite had 7 stops while Tim Brown, Khiran Stafford and Hunter Bowen had 6 tackles each. Reid Johnson and Stephen Neal had 4 stops each as Alcorn, Deondre Elston and Chris Grady had two. Killingsworth, Marcus Neal and McCabe Cordell had one stop each. At 2-1, the Greyhounds now turn their attention to 3-0 Pine Bluff Dollarway as Newport travels to Jefferson County. Dollarway will be playing their first game in the 2-4A conference as they moved into the league this year to replace Cave City although the Hounds and Cardinals are no strangers to each other. Having played five classic games in the playoffs since the late 1980's, the 2012 conference edition should bring more of the same for the two rivals. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.