Newman International Academy (TX) battled a lot of adversity this season, but overcame it all with a 20-17 victory over Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill (TX) to win the Texas Catholic Athletic Association (TCAL) state championship.
The Warriors lost their starting Quarterback Joshua Rico in the first half to a hand injury, but Head Coach Welton Johnson and his staff put the ball in their best athlete Tayden Gray's hands and he led them to victory.
"Thought we were going to come in this game and throw the ball like we always do, we lost our quarterback in the first half and for a spread team that was very detrimental. But we had guys step up and we won the game in trenches." Johnson
Gray, who started the game at wideout and defensive back moved to quarterback when Rico went down. Before Rico left the game he threw a touchdown pass to wideout Camari Anderson for the Warriors first points of the game. Gray rushed for 118 yards, 2 touchdowns, and had the game sealing pass break up. "It felt good to be QB2. When he got hurt I told him I got him" Gray.
Coach Johnson summed it up best, "The only thing I can say is he is simply special! Tonight I threw him into a roll he had never been in, but we put #7 at quarterback and he got behind his bigs and we got the job done."
It was Trinity Christian who built a 10-6 lead at half time . Quarterback Kahtori Crawl hit Isiah Alyayande for a 13 yard touchdown for the games first points. Crawl also had an interception on defense in the first half. Running Back Emari Mathews led the Tigers in rushing with 72 yards and a touchdown.
"I think it definitely put us on the map. Two years ago we won our first state championship in TCAF, this year we came to TCAL we won our second state championship, and now as we ready to go UIL we are looking to something no school has ever done in history and that's win a state title in three different divisions."