The De La Salle of the North

The rumors were correct about Newman’s Jeff Badger. After the Cardinals’ 46-20 win over Ukiah, Badger confirmed he was offered a full scholarship from the Air Force Academy to play fullback in their veer offense.

Badger said he was surprised by the offer and is seriously considering it. As is often the case when Empire players are talked about, Badger’s size (5-11, 205) is said to be lacking for a Div. I college player. Personally, I think he can play Div. I. He’s as tough as any runner around and while he doesn’t have blazing speed, he’s fast enough to play fullback and can also catch passes. Watching him break tackles and carry tacklers he would be hard to envision him not being able to gain a few yards a carry even against college competition.

Newman was again off the charts Friday against Ukiah, Randy Wright completing 21 of 23 passes for 311 yards and 4 TDs. And Newman’s defense was again superb from Jacob Gowan’s opening series fumble caused to Badger’s 11 tackles and a sack and Joe Ferguson’s eight tackles and Jonathan Steele’s six tackles.

I honestly believe this Newman team is better than the 2006 team that went to the state bowl championship game. The 1-2 running punch of Badger and Ferguson, the play of Wright at QB and the overall play of the defense week-in-and-week-out makes this a pretty special team.

Ukiah coach Chris Burris was right on the mark when he called Newman the De La Salle of the North. The Newman program, its coaches and players, are at the top of their game right now. Newman will no doubt get the top seed in the NCS Div. II playoffs, even though Clayton Valley is undefeated. And down the road St. Bonaventure looms as a possible Div. III state opponent. Pretty cool stuff.