Big plays highlighted New Town’s 38-18 victory over Western Tech (5-4) at Lansdowne High Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t until New Town senior Derrick Kittrell made the biggest play, on the last one of the third quarter, that the Titans pulled away.
The Titans (8-1) were clinging to a 19-18 lead with 10 seconds left in the third quarter when quarterback Shawn Maggison connected with Kittrell on a short throw from the 44-yard line.
Kittrell corralled it and bounced laterally off five defenders all the way into the end zone.
He collapsed of exhaustion, but the Titans didn’t, adding two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Donte Gross and Ryan Marine to ice the game.
“It was an audible call, but by them blitzing, it messed it up so I had to adjust to the ball and just make a play,” Kittrell said.
The huge play didn’t surprise Titan coach Joe Holland.
“He has a really tough spirit and he has no quit in him,” Holland said. “You can see he’s always trying to make a play and I’m really glad to have him on this squad because he’s a playmaker.”
Kittrell, who rushed for a team-high 141 yards on 10 carries, had a 70-yard touchdown run in the first half
Classmate Gross (6 carries, 117 yards) also added a pair of big plays — catching a 55-yard touchdown pass from Maggison (5-for-11, 133 yards) in the first quarter — and scoring on a 69-yard run with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter to give the Titans a comfortable 32-18 lead.
Maggison and Marine each added short touchdown runs for the other two Titan scores, but Marine’s most important contributions may have come as the kicker.
Twice, he made tackles to stop long kickoff returns by Western Tech’s Tre Beverly that would have gone for touchdowns.
New Town gained 528 total yards, including 395 on the ground, but the Wolverines’ offense hung with them for three quarters.
Backs Peyton Beachum and Chris Freeman ran for 208 of the Wolverines 298 yards rushing.
Quarterback Jamal Pryor added a 53-yard option run early in the second quarter to tie the score at 6-6, but Kittrell raced 70 yards on the next play.
On the second play of the second half, Freeman (6 carries, 149 yards) raced 68 yards for a touchdown and the score was tied again.
After Evens Cross broke up a pass with a crunching hit on New Town’s next series, Freeman raced 68 yards for a score on the same call as the previous one and the Wolverines led 18-12.
Freeman described the first two touchdowns of his high school career.
“On the first one, I bounced out to the left side,” he said. “The other time, blocker Ryan Ashley said, ‘Run behind me’ and that’s what I did and I got a big break.”
New Town answered with a 9-play 62-yard drive that ended with a Maggison sneak. Marine’s extra-point gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
Linebacker Damarco Spears and defensive lineman Jordan Bolt made key tackles to halt a Wolverine drive on downs midway through the fourth quarter when they only trailed by seven.
“The defense made some adjustments to close the door on some of the big plays we allowed,” Holland said. “I’m just glad the kids could respond to adjustments on the fly.”