Newton Hoops
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Brock Netter

Brock is SOSA's primary writer and has worked for the Coshocton Tribune, the Kankakee Daily Journal (Ill.), the Vinton-Jackson Courier and the Jackson Telegram. He's a six-time award-winning journalist, a lifelong WWE fan, a suffering Bengals fan and calls the sidelines his home.

Unioto nips Vinton County on Hoops’ record-breaking night

Quarterback Newton Hoops went into the school's record books while leading his Shermans to victory.

Brock Netter, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

McARTHUR — Newton Hoops continues to rewrite the Unioto history books, and his already-growing legend took another step forward on Friday night. 

With two touchdown passes, he set a new school record for touchdown passes in a career with 32 … and still counting. 

“I wanted to get it last year, but I’m so glad I got it this year with this group of guys and I love them,” Hoops said of the record. “I threw five touchdowns as a sophomore and I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t know if I was going to get anything. But I knew I had to put the work in every offseason and every chance I could. I’ve wanted this ever since I’ve stepped in the high school building. So this one means a lot to me.” 

Unioto’s James Rinehart looks for open running room during Friday’s victory over Vinton County.
CREDIT: Matt Ash/

Hoops was as advertised at Vinton County on Friday.

But it was Unioto’s defense that rose to the occasion throughout the second half, making the biggest play of the game to help the Shermans (1-0) escape with a 21-20 victory over the Vikings.

“Coming into the season, we lost a ton of senior leadership and a lot of production. But we battled so hard for 48 minutes,” Unioto coach Matt Hoops said. “We have guys who are good football players, but haven’t had to do it under the Friday night lights, until now. A lot of them are getting their feet wet and processing everything that’s going on. But I’m proud of our seniors for how they led and fought until the end.” 

Tale of the Tape

After a scoreless first quarter, Unioto lit up the scoreboard with a little luck on its side. Vinton County (0-1) mishandled a would-be interception that found receiver Caden Cutright’s hands. That play extended the drive just before Hoops connected with Cody Braden on a 70-yard touchdown pass to put the Tanks ahead 7-0. 

The Vikings answered right away as Parker Shonborn took to the air, connecting with Lane Haybron for a 36-yard strike, tying the game at 7-7. 

Haybron, on the next Viking drive, managed to bust through the pile and found an opening before dashing 41 yards to the end zone for a 14-7 lead.

With less than 90 second before halftime, the Vikings again had the football. But that’s when Unioto’s defense turned in a momentum-swinging play in a huge moment.

The Tanks’ pressure got to Shonborn right as he threw. David Long stepped in front of the pass and pulled down the interception, giving Unioto the football.

That’s when Hoops etched himself into the history books as he found Cutright up the seam for a 58-yard touchdown, tying the game, 14-14, at the break. 

“I had a seam route on the play, and I knew that Newton was coming directly for me,” Cutright said. “I was ready for it, caught it and kept running to the end zone. I’m glad he’s my quarterback and glad to be a part of this team.” 

Fresh out of the locker room, disaster struck the Vikings immediately. 

On the first play from scrimmage, they fumbled and Unioto recovered the ball on VC’s 1-yard line. On the very next play, Hoops plunged in for a touchdown to put the Shermans ahead 21-14.

From that point on, it was a war of attrition as both teams began to suffer from various cramps.

The Vikings noticed their opponent suffering and used it to their advantage, piecing together a nine-play drive that ended with Garrett Brown scoring an eight-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. 

However, that’s when the play of the night happened. Vinton County attempted the point-after try, and Unioto burst through to block the kick, keeping the lead intact at 21-20.

“You want your football team to be tough and I kept saying to the guys, ‘Are you tough or not?’,” Matt Hoops said. “Guys are dropping like flies, but I think they answered that question. They came up with some big plays and key stops when we needed them the most.” 

The Vikings still had a couple of chances in the fourth quarter to take the lead. But it wasn’t meant to be in the end.

VC fumbled and Unioto recovered in Vikings’ territory and, later, a fourth down try was stopped a yard short before Hoops put the game away with a pair of quarterback runs to chew the clock and send the Shermans home happy. 

Stat book

Newton Hoops finished 13-of-26 passing for 229 yards with three total touchdowns to lead Unioto while Cutright had seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, alongside an interception defensively.

Brown led Vinton County with 30 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown and Haybron racked up 77 yards and two total touchdowns. 

What’s on Tap

The Shermans return to action next week, hosting Amanda-Clearcreek, while the Vikings travel to Circleville, searching for their first win.


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