Lumberton, however, couldn’t keep him out of the end zone.
Newsome’s three touchdowns carried Hoke to a 35-7 Southeastern Conference win over the Pirates, spoiling Lumberton’s homecoming Friday night at Alton G. Brooks Stadium. Two costly turnovers and a pair of stalled drives doomed the Pirates.
“It’s frustrating, you know, we do good things and we hurt ourselves,” Lumberton head coach Mike Brill said. “The kids played hard. They play hard for me, I love those young-ens more than anything in the world.
“We keep hurting ourselves with penalties or bad decisions. I don’t know what the answer is.”
There were few answers for Hoke’s running game, which chewed up 338 yards, anchored by Newsome and run-first quarterback Geoffrey Thompson. Thompson, stealing the chain-moving spotlight from his teammate Newsome, rushed for a game-high 193 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Despite its lackluster showing on offense, Lumberton (4-3, 0-2) came out swinging on its first possession when Daniel Robinson took three carries 65 yards – starting with a 33-yard burst up the middle on a perfectly executed statue of liberty play and ending with a 10-yard touchdown run – to put the Pirates on the board at 7:04 in the first. Robinson, who was laboring after being sidelined with an injury last week against Pinecrest, managed to rush for 100 yards on 14 carries.
But Newsome wasted no time landing the counter punch.
Following his 35-yard kick return to put the Bucks (7-1, 1-1) near midfield, Newsome used a 17-yard clip to set the Hoke offensive in motion. Three players later, positioned by a 25-yard sweep by Brandon McRae, Newsome finished off the three-minute drive with a 4-yard plunge across the goal line to even the count at 7-7.
“I really thought we could win this game, we could’ve beat that team,” Brill said.
The Pirates were on their heels the rest of the half, and didn’t do themselves any favors on offense.
Lumberton gave Hoke a short field early in the second after quarterback Jez Deese hurled an ill-advised pass into no man’s land where Chaz Brooks hauled in the interception and returned the pick to Pirate territory. This time, Geoffrey Thompson found paydirt, scurrying the option 47 yards down the LHS sideline to give the Bucks their first lead at 14-7, one they would take into halftime.
Hoke out gained Lumberton 173-106 yards in the first half and that gap would only widen in the second half, as the Bucks finished with 390 yards — 338 on the ground — and held the Pirates to 165 yards of total offense.
“A lot of the problems was our stuff,” Brill said. “Our weaknesses are catching up to us, with our people that are injured and our inexperience. They exploited our weaknesses.”
Hoke put its stamp on the second half by orchestrating a 9-play, 5-minute drive that ended in Newsome punching in a 1-yard score. Lumberton fumbled a botched snap on the ensuing possession and Newsome was back in the end zone moments later on another 1-yard plunge to give Hoke a commanding 28-7 lead.
The Pirates sniffed the goal line late in the third riding the running of Ahmad Smith, who returned a Bucks’ punt 46 yards, then took the first play 41 yards down to Hoke’s 2-yard-line. Even still, Lumberton, which has been outscored 59-7 in its first two SEC games, couldn’t find paydirt. After two rushes pushes the line back five yards and Robinson’s 6-yard run was halted at the goal line, the Pirates failed to convert on 4th-and-goal on a broken play. It was Lumberton’s fourth turnover of the contest, and once again Hoke made the Pirates pay.
Opened on a 62-yard scamper from the shifty Thompon, Hoke tacked on another score in opening minute of the fourth on a 14-yard pass in the flat from Thompson to Johnte Holiday who cradled the catch with one hand before snaking in for the score, drawing the curtain on Lumberton’s 35-7 homecoming loss.