Newberry holds off Union County rally

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LAKE BUTLER -- As the cold November air settled over Union County High School, the reality set in - for both Newberry and Union County.
The Tigers fell to Newberry (10-2) 18-13 as a fourth down pass by a hobbled-Chandler Mann sailed over its intended receiver - the Panthers began to celebrate.
None was more happier than RB Ra'Kheem Hoyt - who ran for over 200 yards and scored twice to help the Panthers pull the avenging upset of the previously unbeaten Tigers.
Hoyt's four-yard dive into the end zone in the second quarter tied the game - and his one-yard run with 11 minutes to go in the game turned out to be the game-winner.
"I saw the hole open, and then they were going to cut me - so I leaped," said Hoyt of his first touchdown score. "I didn't want to be stopped."
Union County took a 6-0 lead after recovering a muffed punt at the 9 - but stalled out at the Newberry one just as the second quarter was getting underway.
Then the Panthers drove 99 yards.
"That was huge," said Newberry coach Chris Baker. "We made the stop and just kept running it. Our defense didn't bend at all."
As ecstatic as Baker was - Union County coach Ronny Pruitt was despondent.
"I'll probably kick myself after I watch the film," Pruitt said. "We thought we had it. That play is a trap sweep and we'd had success with it - so I called it."
In retrospect, Pruitt said going for a field goal was never an option.
"The way this game goes, we wanted to score," Pruitt said. "Putting them down by two scores changes things."
Newberry will host Trenton next week in the state 1A semi-finals.
"Go home, celebrate and rest," said Baker to his team. "We've got one more - make that two more games to go."