NEWBERRY — Newberry closes out its home schedule with the annual Battle for the Bishops Trophy at home on Saturday at 2 p.m. as they take on Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Wolves are looking to even up the annual traveling trophy series with the Bears, who took a 13-12 lead in trophy wins last year.
The Newberry defense will be key today, looking to slow down the vaunted “Bear Bone”offense of Lenoir-Rhyne, which leads the nation in rushing offense at 367 yards per game.
Newberry’s offense also faces a stern test, as L-R’s scoring defense is tops in the league and eighth in the nation, allowing 16.13 points per game. The Bears’ rushing defense is also tops in the SAC, allowing less than 100 yards per game.
That sets up big games for a few of the most familiar names on Newberry’s roster - Apollo Stretch, Corey Washington and W.T. Murden.
Last week, Stretch became just the third player in Newberry history with over 200 solo tackles in his career, and ranks eighth all-time in the Newberry annals with 304 career tackles. In his two games against L-R, he averages 11.5 tackles per game, with 16 tackles in Hickory last season.
Washington moved up in the Newberry single season records, moving into 10th place with 726 yards, while his eight touchdown receptions are tied for the fifth-best season in that category. The yardage chart is tightly packed, and big games against L-R and Brevard could have the junior towards the top of the list.
Murden is already rocketing up the single-season charts in the passing categories, as well as the career records. Murden’s 2,367 yards of total offense is the fifth-best season in school history.
Not to be outdone on defense is senior corner back Brian Spencer, who is tied for the conference lead with five interceptions this season, tied for the seventh-best season in school history.
Newberry has had decent success on defense against the option teams in past years, and held Carson-Newman 83 yards under its season average on the ground earlier this season.
The Wolves close the season at Brevard next week, another option-style team.
On special teams, Kyle “Auto” Mackey will look to continue a long streak of PATs, having made all 28 attempts this year. Mackey has not missed a PAT in his career, with 41 attempts.
Newberry boast a season record of 5-4 while Lenior-Rhyne is 6-3.