By Gabriel Stovall
The Drew Titans have been racking up offensive numbers fit for Playstation video games. The Titans (9-3, 4-2) are churning out 458.6 yards of offense per game while scoring 42 points per game. And at the helm of this high octane offense is senior quarterback Joseph Newman.
Last week, Newman scorched South Paulding with 239 yards yards on 14-of-25 passing and three touchdowns to accompany his 135 rushing yards and rushing score on 17 carries.
Drew defeated the Spartans 54-24 after being down 14-0 early in the first quarter.
We had a chance to chat with Newman recently ahead of the Titans’ Friday night quarterfinals tussle in Waycross with south Georgia power Ware County (10-2).
SCBuzz: How cool is it for you to be the guy at the controls of one of the most potent offenses in the state?
NEWMAN: “I mean, it’s humbling. With the support that we have, the parents the fans and everybody, I know I’m not in it by myself. We’re all working together. I’m working to make myself better so that the team can be better. Yeah I’m the quarterback and all that, but I can’t do it without without my running back, my O-line and receivers.”
SCBuzz: What would you say is the difference between the way you guys are playing now and how your team finished the 2014 season?
NEWMAN: “I guess I’d say the way we finish. Games in past we haven’t played as well in the second half or fourth quarter. But this year, we’re still playing hard, it don’t matter what the score is. Honestly, I’m just surprised with the way we’ve finished games and the season this year.”
SCBuzz: What’s been the difference in the team’s ability to finish?
NEWMAN: “Just focus. We’re way more focused. I still think it’s because we have the best coaches. I think it’s really them just helping us to improve our focus.”
SCBuzz: How did that play in to the way you guys performed last week at South Paulding?
NEWMAN: “It just that ability to finish, you know? We never stop. We were down in the first quarter, but that’s just another time that we had to overcome adversity. (South Paulding) was doing something different up front that we weren’t expecting, and we had to make a few adjustments. They started out where they were just kind of moving all around, the front seven was. They had linebackers come down, trying to pinch. They tried to switch it up, but we picked up on it around the second drive, and it was good from there.”
SCBuzz: When you guys get down in a game like you did last week, does your high powered offense make you feel like you’re never out of a game?
NEWMAN: “Basically, yeah. There’s still a lot of football left to play. No need to change up anything we do when we know how explosive we can be.”
SCBuzz: So we’ve talked about how your team has gotten better. What about you. How have you personally gotten better as a quarterback?
NEWMAN: “Just really going in, studying a lot of film. I’ve been working on being more efficient. Always trying to get my mechanics right, and just trying to get better mentally.”
SCBuzz: Fun question for you: Who would you say is the most explosive guy on your offense?
NEWMAN: “My tailback Quarderman Sloan, hands down. That kid is so special. It’s just his vision. His athleticism. The way he sees things. He’s great in space. There might be a slight chance you’ll catch him once he gets out in space, but that doesn’t happen often.”
SCBuzz: You guys don’t seem phased about going on the road for the playoffs. What’s it been like playing in all these different venues?
NEWMAN: “Definitely exciting because I like to travel. Like going to places like Ware County which is kind of like a state power. I’ve imagined what the atmosphere’s gonna be like down there. But we don’t get too caught up in where we play. It was good that we won our first (ever) playoff game. We made history or whatever, but in my mind I approach it like we’re not done. We still have to get a state championship. That’s been our goal since the spring. Until we get there, we haven’t done anything yet. ”
SCBuzz: How’s the college recruiting thing going? Are you turning heads with the way the offense has played this year?
NEWMAN: “Yeah. I’m getting looked at by a bunch of FCS. I might be a little close to a decision, but right now I’m just focusing on the season. Of the schools I’ve been offered by, I like Army, Wofford, Gardner Webb and Charleston Southern. Jacksonville State hasn’t offered yet, but I love watching them play. They do some of the same things we do on offense.”
SCBuzz: Since it’s Thanksgiving season, we’ve gotta ask: What are you most thankful for this year?
NEWMAN: “I’m thankful for a lot, man. I’m thankful for my teammates and my coaches. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be around these guys like that and going deep into the playoffs. Being around this team has made a big impact on who I am right now and who I’m going to be.
THEY DREW IT UP THIS WAY:
Every big play offense seems to have a big three on their 11-man roster. Here are those players for the Titans, along with their season stats to date:
JOESPH NEWMAN (QB): 119 of 205 passing, 58 % completions. 1,635 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 7 INTs. 1,036 rushing yards 125 carries, 8.3 yards per carry 10 TDs. 2,671 yards of total offense.
QUARDERMAN SLOAN (RB): 2,102 rushing yards on 185 carries, 11.4 yards per carry, 26 rushing TDs.
BRYSON DUCKWORTH (WR): 25 catches, 440 yards, 17.6 yards per catch, 6 receiving TDs.
Check out Newman’s highlight reel from last Friday’s win: